An initiative of Live Edge Design in coordination with the Robert Bateman Foundation
By the time you have taken a few steps inside your vacation getaway suite at UltimateBnB you will have recognized the obvious; your hosts have a deep affinity for wood. In particular, Maple. Wherever possible,Canadian maple. Because what could be more Canadian than a maple tree? The maple leaf has adorned our flag for nearly 50 years and our Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team(though somewhat beleaguered) is one of the most successful sports franchises on earth.
But I digress! Back at UltimateBnB the fireplace mantel is a beautiful slab of thick Western Maple, the cabinetry throughout is maple, floors in the bedroom and den are fine Canadian maple, the doors are maple, and yes, even the baseboards are maple. Even though the dresser, night stand, and cubby are from Wood Castle’s Calvin collection in Albany, OR, they are still made from solid maple!
So when we first read about the ‘One Tree’ exhibit at the Robert Bateman Centre we were more than a little interested. We were among the first to take the tour on opening day in early November, 2015.
For nearly 100 years this grand old maple stood next to the Cowichan Valley farmhouse. Generations of children climbed in it, swung from its branches and picniced in the welcome shade it provided. But in the end, it was determined the tree was in poor health and would need to be taken down to mitigate risk to the family home.
Rather than chop it up for firewood the family contacted Live Edge Design in hopes there might be a more noble use for it. From there, folks at the Robert Bateman Foundation became involved and the ‘idea seed’ was planted. What could be made from this tree? What was its true potential?
The answers are astounding! 42 artists from communities that span the continent went to work to see what they could do. Their enthusiasm and excitement on opening day was palpable. I spoke to some of the artists and they told of the creative process; of gazing at the block of wood (sometimes for weeks) waiting for it to ‘speak’ to them. Others knew instantly what their project would be. Either way, the eager anticipation amongst everyone who helped to bring this project to fruition was obvious as they talked about opening shipping crates in the days leading up to the exhibition. In the end, this potential firewood produced an amazing array of woodworking majesty that approached $175,000.00 when all was accounted for.
The One Tree Exhibition continues at the Robert Bateman Centre: 470 Belleville St., Victoria BC. through January 15, 2016.
Links: Robert Bateman Centre