Matthieu Leblanc

Stories Maple Light

 

I consider this piece as the genesis of my style. It was the first true project that opened my eyes to what I could do with salvaged wood.

During my year in Toronto, I took to hiking green spaces whenever I could to give my psyche a break from the concrete juggle. One day while bush whacking along a river in a ravine, I came across a beautiful, twisted and spalted piece of maple lying in the undergrowth. Soon I was combing the riverbank below looking for more wood. I was rewarded when I found a log from the same tree. The heart of it was rotten but the outside was sound and full of colour. It was an exceptional piece, and it seemed a real shame to let such good wood go to waste. I resolved that I would haul it out and find a good use for it.

  

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A quick drive back to my apartment to retrieve an old climbing rope and I was back at the river’s edge tying it to the piece as securely as I could. Ready to bring it home.

At this point all I knew about woodworking was the little bit of carving I had experimented with while living in Vancouver. This project was completely different in both scale and material. I experimented with different tools to see which would be most effective in removing the rot from the centre. I settled on combining the use of an adze, a drill with a few different bits, and a couple different crooked knives. The work was hard, but enjoyable since I could do it outside.

I never quite finished working with this piece of wood. Eventually, it traveled with me to Cape Breton. There I began experimenting with various techniques and tools. It took almost two years until I felt the piece was truly finished. I used this piece in my first art show and am glad to report it has found a home with someone who fell in love with it almost as much as I did.