On Norm West’s ranch there is an 80-year-old log cabin that houses thousands of pieces of wood. Millar Hill photo.

100 Mile House woodworker embodies spirit of the west

Norm West creates unique Spirit of the West Log Furniture entirely out of wood

There is a man who lives remotely on a ranch in the woods off Spring Lake Road who embodies the spirit of the west.

His name is Norm West and he is an artist working with wood, the material behind Spirit of the West Log Furniture.

West has been peeling logs for more than 35 years. In 1978, when West moved to the Cariboo, wood peeling was the first job he could secure. Working outside at his own pace and reaping the benefits of physical labour — he was drawn to it.

“The more I did it, the more I liked it,” West said.

Along the way, he discovered a passion for art and furniture.

“Some of the builders who were working on log homes would make furniture for clients and I always thought it looked like Flintstones furniture, you know, heavy and clunky,” he said. “I thought I could make better furniture and I began doing just that.”

RELATED: Woodworker turns to intarsia for challenging hobby

The first piece of furniture West ever made was a chair.

“I kept the first few pieces of furniture I made because I didn’t think they were all that great,” he said. “The first chair that I made, I made it for my daughter. I still have it and she still uses it whenever she comes to visit.”

He’s since crafted an extensive collection of tables, chairs, lamps, accent art and frames of all sorts. The furniture is made entirely out of wood. No nails or screws are used.

According to West, each piece is “painstakingly” assembled with glued mortise and tenon joinery, then enhanced by a hardwood dowel through each joint.

“I have to always be working on something. Usually more than one thing,” he said. “Always working on a project helps with my creative process. If I didn’t, I’m not sure what would happen.”

Every piece of wood that West uses is different from the other. He hand-picks each piece from the forests and deserts of British Columbia.

On his ranch he has an 80-year-old log cabin that houses thousands of pieces of wood. There is black sage, diamond willow, juniper, alder, birch and spruce.

“Not everything I make will be functional. I like to make pieces that are just to be looked at, however, a lot of my work is functional,” he said.

West often uses nature as his source of inspiration. He said being exposed to nature is one of the reasons he lives so remotely.

“A lot of the time I don’t know exactly what I am doing,” he said. “I will be putting something together and I get to a point where I’m not sure what the next step will be. I will step outside of my workshop, take in my surroundings and when I go back in, it comes to me.”

Spirit of the West Furniture can be seen on display at the More Than Wood Art Gallery in 100 Mile House.

“I hope my furniture reminds people of the magic of nature and how important it is to protect it.”


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Norm West has been making furniture and art out of various types of wood for more than 25 years. Millar Hill photo.

Just Posted

Parkside Art Gallery reopens to the public on June 2

Claudia Rings raises $2,500 from mask sales for Parkside Art Gallery

Boat stolen, funds extorted from elderly neighbour

The weekly police report for the South Cariboo area

From the archives of the 100 Mile Free Press

39 YEARS AGO (1981): RCMP and Search and Rescue co-ordinator John Delves… Continue reading

Lions extend organ donation campaign

Organ donation something to consider

108 Mile Heritage Market open for business

Vendors and clients are welcome to attend and visit the site

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Most Read