Seven years ago, when the B.C. Associations’ Co-operative of Small Wood Businesses (a.k.a. The Wood Co-op) opened its Granville Island gallery, it represented 34 woodworkers. Today, the work of more than 150 B.C. artisans is on display.

“We’re looking for people who are doing original work,” says Laura Friesen, gallery director. “Craftsmanship is very important,” she adds, pointing out that each piece on display is jury selected.

The gallery is filled with handsome furniture, home accessories and artworks, many made from local and reclaimed woods.

David Gilmore’s vases are crafted from locally fallen red and yellow cedar. The wood grain shows through the lacquer finish, so each piece retains its unique natural signature. An oversized salad bowl, made from reclaimed arbutus, is a functional piece of art.

A stunning dining room table made from salvaged local maple and steel, is crafted by Arnt Arntzen, who has also been known to incorporate airplane struts and helicopter propellers in his wood- and-metal furniture and accessories.

For those seeking wooden artworks to accent their home décor, the Wood Co-op has joined forces with the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design’s Innovations in Wood Design program. Second-year industrial design students are challenged to use flexible aircraft plywood to create three-dimensional lamps that can be flat-packed into 11-by-17-inch envelopes. Thus, the project name: Light InTensions. Select pieces will be for sale in the gallery throughout the year.

Wes Giesbrecht’s wooden wall hangings also challenge our conventional beliefs about wood.
Small squares of assorted woods in natural colours are stitched together like a quilt. These burlap-backed pieces retain the same flexibility as fabric, and the small wood squares, which might otherwise be discarded as waste, take shape in a creative new way.

Derek Young’s contemporary side tables are crafted from oval rings cut out of flat sheets of birch plywood. The rings are laminated in a stacked cylinder that’s turned on its side. The centre of the table is cut out, and the cutouts are used for other pieces. It’s a very value-conscious use of the wood, says Friesen.

Prices at The Wood Co-op Gallery start at $32 for a small vase, and run to larger furniture ranging from $1,200 to $12,000.

1592 Johnston St.,
Granville Island.