by Angus Sabo January 18, 2022
We recently sat down with Dale Lowe, Woodturning Artist, to talk about his functional art and the treasure box he's created that will be featured in a new QC Gifts box.
Dale grew up on a farm near Kindersley, in southwest Saskatchewan. While the farm didn’t keep him there, he was inspired by his mother’s love for wood burning, painting and leatherwork. He trained and worked in the field of mechanical engineering throughout his career but didn't start taking wood turning seriously until he neared retirement.
His first piece came from an annual trip with friends to northern Saskatchewan where he stumbled upon some eye-catching birch burls. Burls are the round growths on trees that result from injury or infection. These growths produce unique wood grains not found in a typical tree trunk. Dale used the burls to create the first few wood turned bowls and he’s now into the 1,800’s for finished pieces, cataloguing each and every one.
Dale's variety of work includes bowls, boxes, vessels, hollow forms, spoons, ornaments and adorable little wooden snow people. A lifelong learner, Dale has even expanded his art into casting bronze by way of the late Joe Fafard's foundry in nearby Pense. He learned that art form via classes at the University of Regina, one of only a handful of schools in Canada offering the training.
It’s a six-month process that begins with sourcing a suitable piece of wood from a freshly cut tree. He finds wood from as close as home in Regina to various spots in the province and as far as the West coast. After cutting a block of wood to the necessary size for his project, he may add a coat of wax to control the drying process, as wood fibers separate and can create cracks when they dry.
It’s early in 2022 and Dale is looking forward to creating some pieces for a themed exhibit by Saskatoon woodturner Mike Hosaluk and the potential for the South Saskatchewan Woodturners Guild to return to in-person meetings and workshops. He's also anxiously awaiting his copy of a recent volume of Masters of Contemporary Wood Art in which he has several pieces featured.
In addition to the upcoming QC Gifts box, Dale's work can be found in the Mackenzie Art Gallery gift shop, Traditions Hand Craft Gallery and the WinterGreen and Bazaart art fairs in Regina, as well as the SSC Fine Craft Boutique in Saskatoon.
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