Love of Red Cedar creates beautiful unique carvings
Finding the harmony between a design in the mind of wood carver Jack Wilms and the right piece of unique timber, and a love of Australian Red Cedar, combine to create the intriguing works on display at the Obi Valley Woodworks gallery.
The gallery, in the Obi Valley, just below Mapleton, is home to a stunning array of one-off wood sculptures, furniture pieces, jewellery boxes and even displays of those emerging works midway through creation.
“A combination of creativity, hard work and a deep respect for the timber he loves most results in the beautiful sculptured one off pieces that he creates, ” Jack’s partner Monica McLaren explains.
Jack has been working with the deep red timber as a self-taught carver, full time for the past 27 years.
“Once I have the image completed in my mind, I find the right piece of timber and then complete the artwork,” he says.
“It’s easy once I have it completed in my head.
“I don’t work off drawings or plans, I just start working on the piece and the end result speaks for itself.”
Jack’s gallery, Obi Valley Woodworks, is well worth a visit. To get there, follow Obi Road from central Mapleton for about 17km, then follow the signs at Coolabine Road exit. The gallery is open most weekends between 10am and 4pm.
“Visitors to our gallery, upon seeing the artwork for the first time, are usually amazed by what Jack can do with the timber,” Monica says.
Jack’s skills are also visible in Montville, with the master carver responsible for creating the intricate doors of the Montville Chapel, as well as 14 individually-carved pews, a one-off carved whale’s tail alter and intricately carved branches that adorn the ceiling – a project that took some 12 months. He is also responsible for most of the carving work at Secrets on the Lake over the past two decades and completed the resort’s front doors more than 20 years ago.
“I choose to work only with Australian Red Cedar because of its naturally occurring unique grain and the rich red colour of the timber,” Jack explains.
The beautiful timber sculptures evolve as Jack chooses the perfect piece of timber and starts to create. Whatever his latest creation might be, he is able to bring out the natural rich colour and grain of the timber and work it into the story of each piece.
“His passion is creating wildlife and native scenes in sculptures as well as one off furniture pieces and carved Red Cedar doors,” Monica says.
“His artwork is not mass produced and he enjoys creating each piece to perfection, the furniture pieces and carved doors are mostly commissioned by the client to suit their personal taste.”
“It is nothing new to see an Obi Valley Woodworks enthusiast have their entire home decorated with Jack’s artwork from the carved front doors through to a show piece dining table, coffee tables, hall stands, mirrors and elegant sculptures throughout.”