Andy WoodSmith (Wood Elf)

I work with wood. I like to create, or find imagery and symbols, that speak to me and then translate them into wooden mandalas and mosaics. Ancient symbols, especially “Sacred Geome-Tree”, have had a great influence in my work. I prefer to use only old growth wood that has been harvested with good intention. I believe everything has a spirit, especially wood, and I find the better treated the wood is before it comes into my hands, the more magic the wood is willing to share. Many hundreds of years of growth are incorporated into my pieces, which I find, brings a life of its own to the process and the finished piece.
I use printed templates to start my process, cutting the image into many pieces before I trace them onto wood. I observe the image for some time next to a pile of different colour woods to listen to how the woods want to be arranged. I love working with many different shades and colours of wood as to bring contrast to certain aspects of the images I’m working with. Once I’ve cut and finished all of the pieces, my goal is to “float” the image as best as I can by framing it all together from the back. The less frame that can be seen the better. This expression is my key to a life of creative adventure. It’s my medicine, my salvation. Doors that where once closed are now wide open in every aspect imaginable since I started this wood journey.

Andy grew up in a end-of-the-road town called Likely in the central interior of British Columbia. Born to tree planting mother and lumberjack father Andy has been surrounded by wood since birth. After spending 6 years throughout his teens in the City of Detroit where he lived with his mother, a house fire brought Andy back to his roots. With his passion and love for community and the arts, especially music, Andy found himself in the quaint but lively Village of Cumberland on Vancouver Island where he now resides with his lovely partner Sonia, and their magical little child Pearl.
After many years of trying to “get rich” through jobs and business ventures that proved unfulfilling, Andy decided to leave the comfort of his job to create space for something new to come into his life. “I was adamant that I wasn’t going to tell our new child that she could be and do anything she wants while I was withering away at a job that I didn’t want.”
Several years prior, Andy’s father had passed away leaving him an entire wood shop full of tools. With practically no wood working experience in May 2014 Andy started his woodworking adventure by making artistic garden trellises and quickly moved into mandala hanging pieces. Since then he’s been full time in the shop, making funky garden art, large wall pieces, and art installations for music and art festivals (another great passion of his). With his first art show on the horizon not even a year into the journey, Andy has a well planned out 2015 of touring his favourite music and art festivals to share and sell his art as well as building art Installations for them. “Here we go! I feel like I’m just on for the ride. All I’m doing is showing up, and this is taking me exactly where I want to go in life! I’ve never been more excited to go to work (if you can call it that).”

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