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Duncan crafts ‘statement’ wood art

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Jan Duncan’s wood art is known for making a statement.

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It might be a large bowl, it might be a sculpture, whatever the size or style, they all say ‘decorative.’

“It’s a statement piece,” Duncan nodded at the Station Arts Centre in Tillsonburg Sunday afternoon during Day 2 of the Oxford Studio Tour. “A lot of them are just fun. My mission is to show people the diversity and the beauty in wood.

“If you want something functional,” said Duncan, picking up one of the smaller wooden bowls, “you could use this as a fruit bowl.”

And while some larger sculptures might function as fruit bowls, “you’d have to dig pretty deep to get your apple,” Duncan laughed.

Duncan displayed dozens of her wood turning and wood sculpturing art pieces at the Station, April 30 and May 1, during the annual Oxford Studio Tour, including a ‘sea stack’ piece inspired by the 2018 movie The Vanishing.

“A lot of the bigger pieces are non-concentric – they do not go on a lathe,” Duncan explained.

Sculpturing requires chainsaw, mallet and chisels, and grinders.

“The grinders are wonderful now, they’ve got a lot of really good discs that you can put on them that remove a lot of the wood in a short period of time. So they are fantastic.”

Duncan uses a medium-size (16-inch bar) chainsaw.

“It’s not like the three-foot bar that the loggers would use,” she smiled.

Even with power tools it can take a long time to prepare wood sculptures.

“This (maple) piece,” she said, picking one up, “was probably 80 hours. That was because the bark removal on it was hard – a horrendous job. Sometimes the bark will release in one big piece and sometimes it will not. And when it doesn’t, and you want to retain what it really looks like underneath the bark…”

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Duncan said she was pleased by attendance during the tour.

“Yesterday was very busy, very good, beautiful weather. Today has been slower.”

An Ingersoll artist, Duncan enjoys exhibiting at the Station.

“The people are fantastic and it’s a gorgeous venue. The lighting, you’ve got all the art on the walls, and I love the fact that they take all the artists and they mix us all together. It’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic. It’s a wonderful showcase.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic Duncan was building a workshop, which kept her busy.

“It was devastating for us because all the shows were shut down. You have three or four favourite shows a year you go to and you look forward to seeing the vendors, seeing the people, and that just stopped.”

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