Kimberely Francis - how does she do it?

July 3, 2018

Kimberely Francis is one of our most popular artists in store. Her work does not have a long shelf life - as soon as they come in our door it's as if they are on their way out only days later. Both the compliments of her work and common question of ‘how does she do it?’ led us to feature her this week on the blog.


From the west coast of Canada, where the sitka's and douglas firs, eagles and herons, and of course the mountains own the horizon, Kimberely brings to life her perspective of the view. Her cedar wood carvings are adapted from her photography and are carved carefully with a tiny blade, one line at a time.


Her art looks best hung on the wall or placed on a shelf - anywhere visible in the home, office, business place, you name it.



See below how Kimberely reflects on how she creates these works of art:


"Almost every dad has a dusty scroll saw tucked away in the back of his workshop.


One ordinary day, nearly a decade ago, I had graduated from a fancy art school, and was visiting my parents. Over a long conversation pondering vocational directional steps, my dad jumped to his feet and told me to follow him.


My father is the essence of a renaissance man, and as a small child I remember sitting with him at the kitchen table after dinner most nights, being invited to dabble with whatever he was up to at the time-- practicing a bit of calligraphy, hand stitching some leather work, plotting out a pixilated woven idea on graph paper--


And so, as I have been for several decades, I followed his footsteps deep into the back of his workshop and watched with curiousity as he demonstrated the basics of this new thing I had been walking by for years, never really noticing. 



A scroll saw is a bit like a sewing machine, with the blade acting like the needle on a sewing machine. There are thumb screws that act like the presser foot, and my dad's saw was well worn with some personal rigging to reflect his process preferences. Pilot holes provide access to the middle of the board, and once the tiny blade is secured as tightly as a guitar string-- a freestyle drawing opportunity is available.



That day-- he suggested some simple exercises to learn basic handling techniques. As one would learn to dock a boat or handle a wheel barrow-- it is important to approach blade destinations with a bit of a strategy.


From there-- I began to play--creating decals of sketches and collaging them in corrolation to the grain-- using the grain as landscape-- drawing upon memories and visual experiences that placed the tiny figures of friends and family within the scale of a great big world around them.


Several years of professional practice, truck loads of carefully selected rough cut lumber and thousands of cedar carvings later, my dad is still the person I text late night process images to, to ask design advice or excitedly present images to of a detailed piece that finally 'feels finished'.


Generous critique is sure to follow, without fail, within a few minutes.


When I write back to thank him, or at times to playfully sass him, he assures me that he loves every minute, and that he doesnt mind a bit.  


A couple of nights ago, he was up late with his library books figuring out a technique he has always wondered about, hybriding a japanese technology  with that of a hand made, peruvian back strap loom."


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