Parkside Gallery is celebrating the age-old craft of furniture making and woodworking this month with the show Wood Works.
The show was organized by Claudia Ring, who brought together 14 of the South Cariboo’s best woodworkers, furniture makers and craftspeople.
Norm West, of Spirit of the West Log Furniture located out of his home near Spring Lake Ranch, loves nothing more than collecting rare types of wood like diamond willow. West has three barns on his property devoted to wood storage which he uses to create tables, chairs and other pieces of high-end furniture.
“I’m trying to promote nature, a reconnection with nature. That seems to be the problem nowadays, people aren’t connected to nature,” West said.
A former log peeler, West has the skills to start trying to build those connections to the natural world through furniture. While many of his log home building colleagues made furniture, it always tended to be on the blocky side, he said. West decided to bring a more refined touch to his own furniture while keeping the natural shapes of his found wood.
After collecting the wood from the bush, West spends 50 hours a week in his shop creating furniture. Everything he does uses proper wood joinery techniques and is designed to last indefinitely. To him, they are all future antiques.
Forest Grove woodworker and cabinet maker Harvey Frame shares those same sentiments. Frame said wood joining and furniture making is a true craft that deserves respect and attention from the public.
Woodworking helped him turn his life around away from substance abuse as a young man, he said, and has remained close to his heart.
“My definition of craft is very traditional. People who string beads together and make necklaces, that’s not a craft it’s a hobby,” Frame said. “People need to understand the definition of craft. Craft is recognized around the world in a much different fashion than it is in North America … it’s someone who is skilled with their hands.”
Frame personally loves the design stage of his work and interacting with clients and artists. He uses high-quality wood for his pieces and enjoys inlaying designs with different types of wood and even stained glass.
Although West makes furniture for the sake of creating, he hopes the Wood Works show will bring him and his fellow craftsmen some business.
“I think that it provides something other than Ikea. If you buy into that sort of product I think you buy into it many times in your lifetime,” Frame said. “Whereas if you buy from myself or the numerous other craftspeople around (they last.)”