The beauty in sal­vage

Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine - - Contents - By DONNA SHAW – COWICHAN VAL­LEy, BC

Live Edge De­sign owner John Lore has made it his mis­sion to find out with the de­vel­op­ment of the oneTree project. Lore’s vi­sion is to cre­ate value-added art fur­ni­ture from the sal­vaged trees he works with at Live Edge. Through a part­ner­ship with the Robert Bate­man Cen­tre in Vic­to­ria, the oneTree Ex­hibit was born.

With the oneTree project lo­cal artists turn one tree into nu­mer­ous pieces of art­work, fur­ni­ture, and more show­cas­ing the artis­tic, cul­tural and eco­nomic im­por­tance of a sin­gle tree to the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Ac­cord­ing to Lore, oneTree is built on three pil­lars. “First, to cel­e­brate the his­tory and im­por­tance of a sin­gle tree. It is unique for a liv­ing thing to stand in one spot for more than a cen­tury, pro­vid­ing shade, habi­tat, nu­tri­ents for the soil, sus­te­nance for an­i­mals and hu­mans, and even pro­vid­ing a play­ground for lo­cal chil­dren,” he says.

The sec­ond pil­lar is “to show­case the great wealth of artis­tic tal­ent in so many fields —turn­ers, carvers, painters, luthiers, jew­elry mak­ers, sculp­tors, and fur­ni­ture mak­ers, mainly from Van­cou­ver Is­land,” Lore ex­plains. The third pil­lar “is to demon­strate the eco­nomic value we can get from a tree. That we don’t need to ship a log to China or chop it into fire­wood. Ap­prox­i­mately $440,000 worth of art came from this tree. In ad­di­tion, we em­ployed ar­borists, crane op­er­a­tors, videog­ra­phers, millers, kiln op­er­a­tors, gallery work­ers and are bring­ing tourists to Vic­to­ria.”

Ac­cord­ing to Peter Ord, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Vic­to­ria’s Robert Bate­man Cen­tre, past one Tree ex­hibits have been hugely suc­cess­ful. “The ex­hibit had such di­ver­sity,” Ord says. “Many peo­ple en­joyed the story of the tree as much as the art­work, and we saw many new peo­ple come through our doors be­cause of the ex­hibit. We were ex­cited to wel­come even more artists to this year’s show.”

This year’s ex­hibit cen­tred around a black wal­nut (Juglans ni­gra) which stood at its home on St. Charles Street in Vic­to­ria’s Rock­land neigh­bor­hood for the past 100 years. Tak­ing root in the Craig­dar­roch Cas­tle-era, the black wal­nut’s majestic limbs be­gan to crum­ble in 2015. The tree was taken down to keep the sur­round­ing homes and peo­ple safe, but “many plants, an­i­mals and peo­ple miss this tree,” Lore says.

The tree was spe­cial to those in Rock­land who fondly re­mem­ber the ur­ban black wal­nut and have their own sto­ries about it. “Al­ready sev­eral peo­ple have come for­ward to tell us about walk­ing past it reg­u­larly or col­lect­ing the wal­nuts as they dropped from the tree,” Lore says.

In 2017, 50 ju­ried artists each worked with a piece (or two) of this sin­gle, sal­vaged wal­nut tree to cre­ate over 100 pieces of art for the ex­hibit with a to­tal stag­ger­ing value of over $440,000. It’s not just the eco­nomic value of this one sin­gle tree that is amaz­ing. The di­ver­sity of cre­ations is truly un­be­liev­able, and in­clude desks, lamps, ta­bles, sculp­tures, bowls, mu­si­cal in­stru­ments, a lad­der, and even a gnome home! The sheer vol­ume and va­ri­ety of pieces cre­ated a phe­nom­e­nal ex­hibit. Here are some of the artists that made this year’s oneTree ex­hibit so mem­o­rable.

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