January 07, 2022
Some artists embody the work that they do, and in their presence that embodiment skirts the edge of tangibility.
John Morel is a woodworker. You might know it just by looking at him, but in talking to him you quickly come to understand that woodworking resides in his very soul.
More than just someone who creates beautiful pieces out of wood, Morel has learned to tell the story of the living elements of his medium.
Fiercely passionate about the science of trees, he honours the organism that gave its life for the creative expression of his work.
“A tree has a DNA spiral, and we have a DNA spiral,” remarked Morel.
“An oak tree’s is not very similar to ours, and some wood is extremely exotic. I feel they have had rather an insignificant picture in people's minds.
“There is some extreme beauty in wood and if you are unaware of it, then there is no point in trying to fathom out what it is.
“If you do see the beauty in the wood, then you are able to, or should be able to, bring the natural beauty of the wood out.”
Morel’s driving function is to put the wood first, cautiously mentioning that if you put yourself first when working with wood you cannot possibly reveal its true potential.
“I strive very hard to that end.”
Born and raised in England, Morel moved to Canada as a young adult with the influence of his parents firmly influencing the way he navigates life.
His mum was a musician who encouraged his love of nature. His dad was a woodworker, who conditionally took him on as a student after he could prove the trade was in his bones.
The crossing of paths - woodworking and an enthusiasm for biology - created a mind destined for legacy-worthy works of art.
His workshop is a beautiful exercise in diversity. Multiple types of work stacked in various corners, a grandfather clock in progress, pieces of classical music instruments propped carefully against tables, and a handmade canoe hanging from the ceiling.
There are gorgeous finished pieces tucked into every nook and cranny. His two dogs scuttle about looking for affection and handouts, a fine layer of sawdust clinging to their coats.
“It is very important to try to think out the best you can for the wood, and the reason being is that tree grew, it lived once,” lamented Morel.
“This is it's second chance and whether we can, or I can, pull it off is up to me in a manner of speaking.
“I think it's very important because there is so much beauty in a piece of wood really.
“And that's what I give my life to, is trying to bring out good images in wood. Good woodwork.”
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Bluerock Gallery Inc. acknowledges the land in which it is is situated on as the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.