Artist Vaughan David has a strong spiritual relationship with wood. | Photo by Vaughn David

Self-taught, Vaughn David has always evolved in the world of wood. First working in carpentry, he took a turn in his professional life and felt a need to create twelve years ago. “I was too stressed in my job and I wanted the freedom to do that. I have never regretted it,” he explains.

After having studied the wood and its drying by himself with a lot of research on the Internet, he then experimented for about two years before leading to the creation of his own process. “Some say I live a monastic life in my studio. I’m there every day,” says Vaughn David.

Vaughn David will hold his exhibition Integrity – Patience – Spirit at the Pacific Arts Market from February 1-28.

A unique technique

Some pieces require up to 500 hours of work according to the artist: “In the end, it can take years because the wood has to dry properly and air, naturally. Over time, some colors appear, sometimes up to 15 years after finishing! The pieces will continue to get richer, the colors will intensify. That’s the beauty of my process. »

Vaughn David is one with the wood: “When you do everything by hand, sandpaper, coat with oil and repeat this process over and over again, it’s a lot of work but this color and the brilliance of this natural color that comes from this wood are exceptional. »

Vaughn David’s goal is to refine his method, but he admits that each step requires a lot of research: “Drying wood is an art in itself”. In the long term, the sculptor would like to pass on his knowledge: “My project is to teach my process to a few Aboriginal students and be their mentor. I would like to have a few people who work in the studio and who create objects all the time”, confesses this lover of wood.

An art closer to nature

Vaughn David finds his raw wood in the region: “Here in Richmond, the municipal workers call me when they cut trees and they think they have interesting pieces. I go to see them and if it’s something I want, I take it back to the studio and start working on it. He also scours the west coast beaches and liaises with park authorities.

“My favorite is cherry wood. Then the plane tree and the locust tree and finally, different types of maple,” says Vaughn David, while specifying that these are exotic woods but which nevertheless grow on the West Coast.

The oils used are natural, as is the air-drying process, Vaughn David proudly explains: “I have about 300 pieces drying right now. Some take five to six years to dry because they air dry naturally. I can’t speed up the process. This is for those who want to make a lot of money with this. »

“The Wood Whisperer”

This is the nickname that several master carpenters have given him. Beyond techniques, colors, and textures, Vaughn David sees much more in the material he works: “There is something in my genes that makes me look at wood and I can know what is there. has inside. I do this with trees whose bark is still there. I see from the bark what’s going on inside. There are compressions, magnificent barks: I can see that by looking at the wood. I can see what the finished piece and its grain will look like. »

The artist humbly admits to not only showcasing this beauty but to maintaining a strong spiritual relationship with the wood “while leaving the wood in its natural state, somehow following the original roadmap. When I refine the wood, I follow the grain and look for its roughness. »

Twenty works by Vaughn David from a hundred will be exhibited at the Pacific Arts Market throughout February.

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