Working at home has its advantages, if there are any to be found during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Master chainsaw carver Liam Tromans can continue to create masterpieces to his heart’s content at his Chemainus workshop, even though exposure for the public and the opportunity to buy pieces is limited at the moment.
Tromans had a very busy early part of 2020 lined up, but competitions and public appearances have been shelved due to COVID-19. He had been booked for the Barking Dog Studio in Sooke, to attend a workshop in the United States and be at the Chemainus Public Market grand opening in March.
The COVID-19 impact has also disrupted a carving display Easter weekend at the market as well as an appearance at the Sweet Meadows Farmers Market in Cobble Hill during the Victoria Day weekend.
The rest of the year remains in limbo.
Competitive events slated for Canada and the U.S. are off Tromans’ originally planned agenda now for the next few months as well as public demonstrations. But he’s looking forward to the eventual opening of the market and reopening of his other public venues.
In the meantime, people passing by his Chemainus shop in a car are welcome to drive in and see the carvings on display. He is closed to the public, but contact information is available on the site.
Tromans will consider commissions for special carvings to be done off-site or carvings that can be completed at his workshop. People can check out his Facebook page, Woodswork Art, for the latest carvings or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on having a carving done.
“He’s pretty well booked up now for people having trees done at their homes,” said wife Jude.
Tromans was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and has been an artist since childhood. After more than 30 years as a professional faller, he gave up logging in 2015 to carve full-time. His respect and love for nature and wildlife can be seen in his detailed carvings.
Tromans is continually trying to diversify and improve his craft.
“I’m pretty much self-taught so if I can pick up some angles and details I might be missing in my work, it’s great to learn,” he said.
Tromans had planned to attend a workshop in Kentucky by master face carver Jeff Phares of Illinois. That was obviously cancelled, but he’s looking forward to further developing those skills at some point.
“I can even apply that technique to Sasquatch,” said Tromans.
Among the newer trends has also been memorial benches that seem to be in high demand.
Tromans had a hectic carving schedule in 2019 and hopes something can be salvaged from the 2020 events. He placed first in several competitions in B.C. and Oregon and exhibited at a Stihl sponsored event in Nova Scotia.
“All the competitions you go to you learn from every one,” Tromans said.
Being invited to the International Chetwynd Competition for 2020 was a great honour, but that will have to wait.
It’s been four and a half years since Tromans and his wife relocated to Chemainus. They’ve been loving the transition to the community and Liam’s switch to full-time carving.
“I’ve been doing it for so many years it feels like I’m retired,” he laughed. “It doesn’t feel like work. I try to keep it comfortable.”