More Than Wood Art Gallery in 100 Mile House shows off artists

‘There is so much talent. It’s amazing’

Art enthusiasts and buyers could meet the artists behind the artwork at the More Than Wood Art Gallery’s open house on Dec. 1,

“It’s fantastic, very popular. There’s a lot of people [and] there is so much talent. It’s amazing,” said Ron Johnson, one of the artists. “It’s a place worth coming to see.”

Each of the 13 artists had their own section to display their art inside the gallery.

Johnson, who does wood art as a hobby, makes cigar and jewellery boxes as well as cigar box guitars and spalted wood vases.

He started 35 years ago.

“I started with my kids making picture frames and we would sell them around the stores to be able to keep them occupied and out of trouble, until the Chinese flooded the market and we couldn’t compete,” he said.

Johnson used to do furniture, kitchen cabinets and so on but now only does smaller projects such as the cigar box guitars, despite admitting not knowing how to play a single note.

He made the first one as a gift but saw that it became somewhat of a fad. However, he doesn’t like what he calls the “crudeness” of the guitar, so he focuses on making nice necks.

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He also makes small wooden vases, using spalted wood.

Johnson, who used to live on the coast, would find birch branches and bury them for a year or two so that when he unearths them after they start to decay and rot, they get fungal stains giving the wood it’s interesting colouring.

Katalin Kovacs is another artist who displayed her work at the gallery.

The former kindergarten teacher moved to the area in 2004 from Hungary. After connecting with some local artists and volunteering with the Parkside Art Gallery, she refocused on her passion for illustration and painting.

“Mostly I use watercolour and pastel, sometimes acrylic because with acrylic I can do wild, crazy work,” she said.

Her favourite painting in her display area was a painting of Pressy Lake before the fire.

Elke Baechmann, co-owner of the gallery (with husband, Ralf) said it was good to see all the artists connect with each other and that they were trading phone numbers and talking about trade secrets.

“It was a great Christmas get together for the artists and we had some new customers walking through and connecting with the artists,” she added. “I think it was a great turnout.”

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Roni Forcier shows off some of her work at the More Than Wood Art Gallery’s open house on Dec. 1. Brendan Kyle Jure photo.

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