Pro wood carver lets art drift away on Vancouver Island

Pro wood carver lets art drift away on Vancouver Island
WatchPro carver Jim Leithead is turning drift-wood in to art on southern Vancouver Island. And after he finishes he leaves the pieces to float away to find a new home. Julian Kolsut brings you the story.

Pro carver Jim Leithead was busy Thursday morning at Island View Beach in Central Saanich.

To him, the beach is a blank canvass, and with his chainsaw, he got to work — carving driftwood into art.

“It’s hard to choose, there is a lot of cool wood here,” said Leithead.

“As soon as I see all this wood I am a kid in a candy shop…. I’m like are you kidding me? All these free huge chunks laying around… and I’ve loved all the little bits of art around this city, everyone’s got a great attitude.”

It was something he came up with to do for fun. And bystanders were certainly impressed.

“I think its really cool… I like how he is carving a face,” said Aiden Cox.

“Making use of what nature has sent us I guess… and its really intriguing he is doing this,” said Cyndi Fournier.

The Ontario resident came up with the idea after finishing a job he was flown in for just up the road.

A massive cedar tree that was over 100-years-old on a Central Saanich farm had to be cut down following safety concerns.

“There was a train that ran from Victoria to Sidney in the early 1900’s… we decided to keep a bit of history and to carve on one of the locomotives,” said Karen Whiteside of Sitka Equestrian.

He’s also done work for Coca-Cola and the Blue Jays, but What he’s doing in his spare time is drawing even as much attention.

But Jim hopes that if you do come across his piece you will let it be — where they could end up is anyone’s guess.

“To see an artist doing something like that… and then to let it go in to the ocean I think its quite impressive,” said Graeme Cox.

“The biggest rush would be when people stumble upon it. Their reaction of wow that’s beautiful,” said Leithead.

“Maybe they are having a crappy day and they smile and all of a sudden they smile or they stop thinking about what it was and change their mood.”

So if you’re beach-combing keep your eyes peeled, you may just spot one of these creations floating on by.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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