"My love of woodwork started in 1988 as a child at Enmore High School in Sydney Australia under the tutelage of Paul Freeland - Inspirational wood sculptor, Australia in the 70's & 80's.Picture above: Cabin built by Jim Zondanos, Exoticwoodshavings in Northern British Columbia, Canada, just south of the Canada/Alaska border.
At the time he was creating sculptures for an upcoming exhibition that astounded me. I still remember being captivated at his methods and unique designs. I would stay back after school and try and take it all in, while asking question that no doubt slowed him down. What I do remember is his patience and teaching method. He could sense that I was interested in wood at this age and thus he showed honour and respect by giving me responsibilities in the class room with my class mates. As the years went on I always remembered Mr Freeland and his designs and that fire dwelled and continues to dwell within me even to this day. I endeavor to recall his designs, methods and techniques to use in my own creations.
in 2010, after a career in Finance and Investment Banking dealing in Bonds, Currencies and Derivatives, I purchased a property in Northern British Columbia, Canada, just south of the Canada/Alaska border. I built a cabin on the fabled Skeena River where I like to fish for Steelhead and Salmon and have guests come and experience the wonders of a temperate rainforest chasing these amazing fish. The smell of the forest and it's beauty rekindled my love of wood and I decided to revisit woodwork after my early retirement from finance. I built an open air workshop amidst towering Spruce, Hemlock and Western Red Cedar - it is such an ideal location for a woodworker to be inspired. From here I have been able to acquire hardwoods difficult to acquire in Australia yet easily available in the North American market. Woods such as Cocobolo, Mexican Kingwood, Pink Ivory, African Blackwood, Lignum Vitae and many others. I have and use roughly 40 different species from Australia to Zimbabwe. I'm in awe with the range of colours, smells and grain effects in these and so many other timbers from around the world - understanding them and how they work is key in bringing raw wood to a finished piece.
I'm inspired by simple lines, curves and grains that blend to produce something pleasing to the eye. At times I let the grain dictate a project. When it comes to the craft of woodwork, I like to use both hand tools and machines. I'm not a handtool purest but I believe both machines and handtools can harmoniously work together in the modern workshop.
Whilst I love to use these amazing woods, I also build doors and windows in the traditional way. I'm often asked to match an existing type of door or window both indoor and outdoor. Occasionally a client will ask me to use my own imagination with a few parameters of their own - this is what I get excited about.
So whether you're looking to replace or repair some existing wooden items around your home or if you're looking for a bespoke piece, something unique and unusually special, send me an email, let's chat and see where it takes us!"
Wood Designs / Photography © Exoticwoodshavings
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