A massive, 200-year-old Maple tree will gradually be turned into numerous works of art. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Become part of a 200-year history with Live Edge’s oneTree project for artists, artisans

A massive, 200-year-old Maple tree will gradually be turned into numerous works of art

A massive, 200-year-old Maple tree will gradually be turned into numerous works of art as part of oneTree 2019.

The ambitious project is a collaboration involving Live Edge Design, the Robert Bateman Foundation and a number of artists.

John Lore, president of Live Edge Design, a Cowichan Valley business that was established in 2005 and now employs more than two dozen people, is the inspiration behind oneTree. He says the concept involves three pillars.

“We want to showcase the great wealth of talent of local artists,” Lore says.

The huge maple that was removed from a farm in the Westholme area in the Chemainus River Delta, in Halalt territory, will be utilized by carvers, turners, furniture makers and other artists to create beautiful works of art.

The second pillar is to demonstrate the value and celebrate the history and importance of a salvage 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 the local children,” Lore says.

The giant maple that was taken down earlier this year in a massive falling and transporting exercise had reached the end of its life, Lore explains.

“In the late 1990s with the tree starting to die, the top and upper limbs were trimmed for safety reasons. In the ensuing 20 years the rot kept creeping up from the bottom as it does with old maples, but also down from the top through the places where the heartwood was exposed and vulnerable from trimming.

“With a heavy heart the owners asked Live Edge Design if we could take the tree down and make something memorable from it. The tree had meant a tremendous amount to their family,” Lore says.

“The rope swing had been on the tree since before they bought the property and was well used and loved. Searching for Easter eggs in the nooks and crannies of the tree became a family tradition. The entire tree was a favorite play area for the children and it provided summer shade for the cattle.”

Lore says the third pillar of the project emphasizes the economic value of a tree.

“We don’t need to ship a log to China or chop it into firewood.”

As well, the maple has created work for arborists, crane operators, videographers, millers and kiln operators. As the oneTree 2019 project continues, there will be spinoff benefits for gallery workers and tourists who will view the art at the Robert Bateman Centre in Victoria.

Lore says oneTree 2017’s 52 artists produced $440,000 worth of art.

The oneTree exhibit is looking for Expressions of Interest from custom artisans to make jewelry, musical instruments, kitchenware furniture, turnings, sculpture and other functional and non-functional art. While art created from material other than wood may be considered, the overwhelming essence of the project must be about the 200-year-old Big Leaf Maple that was salvaged in Cowichan. Other art forms including, but not limited to, music, poetry and dance are eligible. Collaborative creations are also welcome.

More information can be found at www.onetreeproject.ca. Artists wishing more information can also call Live Edge Design at 250-748-0763.

The art created from the Maple will be on display at the Robert Bateman Centre in November 2019 and will be there for three months.

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