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Natural art

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WHO: Jo Collins

WHAT: Art on the Lake

WHERE: Edgewater Outdoor Centre

WHEN: July 8

Walking through the forest or on the beach, most of us never take the time to examine the fallen trees beneath our feet. But when Jo Collins goes for walks, he envisions new life from within the dead wood.

Collins has been creating one-of-a-kind furniture pieces for almost three years from his Lillooet home, an art that is quickly becoming a business.

"I love using stumps for the bases of tables. I also do chairs and beds. I use fir, juniper, cedar, ornamental juniper, birch and pine. A whole different array. The finished product is always different. I can?t duplicate anything twice," explains Collins.

The design of the piece is entirely dependant on the wood. Collins uses the natural growth to dictate the shape of the furniture. Often he starts out looking for a single chunk of wood suitable for a work in progress, but finds himself coming back with armloads.

"I always find something different. Every time. I always find wood for projects that I haven?t even planned yet. And a lot of it ends up being stuff that I just want to create, instead of what people want to buy. Sometimes people will ask me to make a chair in a certain style, and I have a bit of a problem with that because I can only go with what the wood is."

Even working at his craft full-time, it can still take up to two weeks to make a single chair. However, he says there does seem to be a small but growing market that appreciates the time put into each project. Collins is hoping the large number of homeowners in the corridor who enjoy the woodsy, down to earth motif, and the tourists anxious to take away a small piece of the area, will catch on to his designs.

"It?s very eye-catching," Collins admits. "People seem to be blown away. It?s not very mainstream. People are like, ?Wow, look what you can do with garbage wood?."

Collins? work will be on display Sunday, July 8 at Art on the Lake. The artisan showcase goes from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Edgewater Outdoor Centre on Green Lake.

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