The beauty in salvage
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.