Functional art, one-of-a-kind creations, are turned by Don Thur from the most unique burls found in this legendary Ontario lakeland. Dating back to the beginning of habitation, and the tradition of the woodworking trade, these works have a museum-like quality, an art-gallery integrity, yet a functional capability for any appreciative household.
An antiquity, a work of fine art, a showpiece, yet a bowl to be used as much as admired.
Don celebrates the advancement of native craft by transforming burls to useful vessels, from pioneer homesteads to the modern studio. The shape of the burl demands attention to the smallest detail of graining, the wood dictating to a large degree what the artisan can manipulate and what must be left to its own curious design.
"When shaping my creations, I draw inspiration from the burl itself, the grain pattern and natural objects found in the forest lands of Muskoka", notes Don "and of my awareness of our unique flora".
Don Thur began wood turning in 1995 and by 2000 had opened his Country Studio/Gallery with wife Mary, as "Knots and Burls to Bowls" - ().
All the wood turned by Don is representative of the Muskoka area, making his finished pieces "grown and crafted" entirely in the district. No living trees are harvested for the sake of art.
If you build it they will come
Introducing Don Thur
(read the entire story published in the Huntsville Forester May 30, 2013)
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Shown is an in-progress turning being crafted from a portion of a White Pine tree discovered at the 16 ft. level during an excavation project at the historic Beaumont family farm in Bracebridge, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. Don had an hunch that the tree was quite old but was totally unprepared for exactly how old until the results from the University of Toronto IsoTrace Radiocarbon Laboratory confirmed to 100% certainty that the tree dated to 6631 BC. The results determined that the tree was toppled by a natural cataclysmic event in 6370 BC making it one of, if not the, oldest and largest specimen ever found in eastern North America. The preliminary datum shows that during the recession of Glacial Lake Algonquin a tsunami cascaded through this area destroying the trees in its path, and in the same motion, covering them with a lime-dust silt. This action had the effect of neutralizing the prevalent acidic soil thus preserving the encapsulated tree in pristine condition when discovered in 2005.
Ancient White Pine Bowl
A completed form, 4" high and 16" diameter, crafted from the Ancient White Pine described above, incorporating the natural decay and the annual-ring separations which occurred during the tree's lifespan.This piece has been sold to a private collector.
» CLICK HERE to read the National Post Article (PDF format)