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douglas j fisher: life, reinvented

Are you struggling with the notion (or the reality) of reinventing yourself in midlife?  As someone who has done that more than once – and is doing it again – I am uplifted by wood sculptor Douglas J. Fisher’s journey.

Before dedicating himself full time to art, the Vancouver Island resident taught skiing and sailing, worked as an ironworker, an underground miner and delivered sailboats across several seas.

Finding Myself
free standing sculpture, big leaf maple, 15″ x 2.5″

“Using hand held gouges, the wood is cut as it spins on a lathe. After the basic form is made a number of techniques are incorporated to achieve the final results. Some of these techniques include carving, dyeing, ebonizing, texturizing, painting, bleaching and applying real gold leaf.” From the Qualicum Frameworks Gallery website

Even after becoming a full time artist in 1992 he continued to reinvent himself working in painting, stained glass, photography, pen and ink drawing. In 1997 the self-taught artist began to focus on the lathe-turned wood sculptures that he is best known for – and in this body of work you can see how all of his life experience has come together in glorious harmony. [Click on the images in this post to see them large]

Decay Of Progress
maple, 17″ x 2″, double sided table top sculpture

Peregrine Falcon
wall sculpture, maple burl, 28″ x 24″ x 2″, turned, carved, dyed, lacquer

Worthy Of A Deep Silence
wall sculpture, maple, 23.75″ x 15.5″

The Woven Past
wall sculpture, big leaf maple, 24.5″ x 2.5″, turned, carved, dyed, lacquer

Memories of the Future – Three views of one sculpture
maple burl, turned, carved, dyed, lacquer, 28″ x 7.25″ x 2.75″

On The Wings of a Dream
wall sculpture, turned, carved, dyed, maple burl with hammered copper insert
34″ x 22″ x 2″

“The rich deep colours are a result of layer upon layer of transparent dyes. One really has to look to see all the various colours stacked and blended together in one of my pieces. The time put into the carving process averages around 80% of the total time put into the piece. Applying lightfast wood dyes is when the piece really starts to come alive. Building layer of colour upon layer of colour to create an old world, timeless quality is what I am out to achieve. Finally several coats of lacquer are applied which deepens the colour and adds even more depth.”

Studio/Work In Progress

More of Douglas J Fisher’s work at Qualicum Frameworks Gallery.


gwen murphy’s shoe fetish

Gwen Murphy sees shoes as a kind of fetish, which she defines as “an object believed to have magic powers to protect or aid its owner.” Shoes hold a power we don’t often think of – to transport and protect us.

The artist has always felt this connection and each time she looked at a pair of shoes she had the sense that the shoes were looking back at her – this series of sculptures is an attempt to bring out what she sees in each pair.

Sentinels, acrylics, ash clay, women’s shoes

T-Straps, acrylics, ash clay, women’s t-strap pumps

Foot Fetish #66, ash clay, acrylics, men’s shoes

Pairing acrylics and paperclay with wooden shoe lasts and recycled shoes, the sculptures are bursting with people personality, ranging from humorous to thoughtful to downright spooky.  Murphy holds an MFA in Sculpture from Boston University – her work has been exhibited nationally and is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Art and Design, NY.

Slims, acrylics, ash clay, women’s shoes

Foot Fetish #48 and #49, acrylics, ash clay, ribbon

Foot Fetish #15, acrylics, ash clay, wooden shoe last

Nudes, acrylics, ash clay, wooden shoe lasts

robyn gordon’s south african wood carvings

Carved wooden totems, doors and panels tell the story of Robyn Gordon’s life in South Africa. I am drawn to her niche carvings, resting places for symbols of the land she calls home and her British ancestry.


“The totems ‘speak’ of legends that have been passed down from one generation to the next. They are meditative pieces which bring me a great sense of peace.” Robyn Gordon

Prayers For Our Daughters
Carved in response the current crisis of genocide/gendercide in India

Robyn is also the author of the popular blog Art Propelled, where she shares her work in progress as well as thoughts on creativity, photos and links to art she has come across on the internet. The blog enjoys a large and loyal readership who comment regularly – a spirited bunch that feeds her creativity – do visit to see for yourself.

Sketch of totem


Secret Portals, decorative door

“This door is my representation of a secret portal behind which ancient secrets are kept. In Africa there are many secret portals where objects used for rituals and ceremonies are hidden. Masks, reliquaries and sacred vessels are often only brought out during ceremonies and rituals. Sometimes sacred objects are viewed only by those who have proper rank and knowledge to do so.” Robyn Gordon

Tribal Secrets

“I strive to keep my work different to what is out there but I’m definitely influenced by the tribal art of Africa as well as tribal art world wide. On the one hand I want to convey a feeling of ancient tribes with stories to tell and on the other a love for gathering which I think is an instinct alive in most of us.” Robyn Gordon

You can read interviews with the artist here and here. Many more images on her Flickr site.

“The patterns, objects, symbols are all of this land. No matter what tribe we belong to we who were born in this country belong here and make South Africa what it is.” Robyn Gordon

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