The Sooke Fine Arts Show has showcased some of the finest artists in B.C. for more than three decades.
One of the features of the show that may be most inspiring is the show’s selection of artists; extraordinarily talented people who span virtually every medium and who come to the show with the full scope of artistic experience.
This year one of the first time artists at the show is Emma Banner. She’s a woodturner who makes her home in Jordan River and has found a way to draw out the beauty in every piece of wood she touches.
“I love taking outside elements and putting them together, trying to draw out emotion from people,” Banner said.
“Woodturning has been around for so long and there are guidelines for how to do it right, or what is considered right. Then I come in there with my blue hair and tattoos and shake things up a bit.”
Banner said while her mind is always going in a hundred directions at once, looking for inspiration in everything she does, she finds her true inspiration in the wood.
“You put a piece on the lathe and it will often tell you what it wants to be. You have to let it come out … there’s no sense fighting it.”
Banner’s favourite wood is maple, because of the textures and colours she can find concealed in the wood, but she has a propensity for trying all types of wood to explore what beauty might be hidden within.
“I’ve used some wood that isn’t the usual material for woodturners, including things like Scotch broom, lilac and rhododendrons. Each wood has a story to tell and a hidden beauty just waiting to come out.”
Banner’s first experience with woodturning came as a high school student, but she abandoned the medium for many years, choosing instead to work with paint and other art forms.
Then came the day when a friend dropped off an old, broken lathe at her father’s house. She worked on it with her father and got it up and running and a new artistic career was born.
She now has a collection of lathes that range from a 70-year-old antique to a state-of-the-art automated machine.
“I love doing off-centre turning where it has that weird, awkward appearance, but it is just beautiful, none the less,” Banner said.
This year the young woodturner will have three pieces in the Sooke Fine Arts Show and said she feels lucky to have been chosen to display her work in what has become Vancouver Island’s premier summer art event.
“We’re very happy to have such an enthusiastic, skilled artist as part of the show. I’ve met Emma at various craft shows and her enthusiasm is infectious,” said Terri Moore, the executive director of the Sooke Fine Arts Society.
“I’m so glad that she was chosen to be part of our show.”
The Sooke Fine Arts Show takes place at the SEAPARC arena between July 26 to Aug. 5.