Boreal Bauhaus display at On the Avenue shows the beauty of repurposed wood

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Garry F. Miller poses with a charcuterie board at his display at On the Avenue during his first artist meet and greet on Saturday, a second one is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17.

On the Avenue Art Gallery in Prince Albert welcomed customer furniture creator Garry F. Miller as their artist on display for the month of February.

Miller is the founder of Boreal Bauhaus out of Christopher Lake. He was in Prince Albert on Saturday, Feb. 10 for the first of two artist meet and greets, where he introduced people to his rustic furniture creations.

Miller, who goes by Garry F. Miller because of many people with the same name in Christopher Lake, said he has built a reputation around his craft.

“I pride myself that I am known in the community as being a wood rescuer,” Miller said. “People will frequently contact me asking if I’m interested in a particular piece of wood that otherwise might get burnt or thrown out.”

Miller works with the wood to create wall art, acreage, cabin signs, benches and other unique pieces. He displayed yard signs that were just put together placing the numbers on with double-sided tape.

Miller said his aim is to repurpose wood for his creations.

“Trees at one point in time, they stood tall and proud in the forest,” he explained. “They served a purpose and they had a role, so I don’t cut anything down to make furniture. Either what’s come down naturally or has come down that somebody else has brought down for development.

“While this tree at one time stood tall and proud, with its head in the sun in the forest, I come along and I give it an opportunity for new life to still be tall and proud and have its head in the sun in your home, for generations to come.”

Miller’s roots as an environmentalist and horticulturalist provided the inspiration for his custom furniture creations. He also credits family for helping peak his interest.

“People frequently ask me, ‘how long have you been doing this, and I think, ‘my dad bought me my first saw when I was 12 years old,’” the now 73-year-old Miller said.

Miller came to work with On the Avenue because he knew an employee and happened to come to Prince Albert when she was working. The employee was familiar with his work and that led to his gallery display.

He describes his creations as “functional pieces of art”. They will be on display and for sale at the gallery for the month of February.

He will also host another artist meet and greet on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at On The Avenue.

“That was intentional, so it would be the bookends on Valentine’s,” he explained.

He has also started to make unique charcuterie boards.

“I do a lot of charcuterie boards and they are very popular and very trendy, and again with the other things that I create, the charcuterie boards are unique. They’re distinctive. They’re one-of-a-kind,” Miller said.

“The wood speaks to me and I try and listen to what the wood is saying. I look at the character of the wood,” he added.

He explained that he can work with any type of wood, works included Russian Olive and Birch in the collection.

Another thing he creates is bar height tables, which are a personal favourite.

“I like to do things that are that challenge me. and that gives me a great deal of enjoyment,” he explained. “You don’t go somewhere and just pick a pattern or pick a design or pick the instructions off the wall. You have to let the wood speak to you, to come up with a way to be able to create what it is that you want to create. Particularly with the bar height table, I have an opportunity to be able to use the talents or the skills that I have.”

Miller also had a number of wine racks on display.

“We do quite a few wine racks and the wine racks are unique and distinctive as well and each very different,” Miller said.

“I wasn’t necessarily expecting a crowd because February is a slow month, but for me I’m very busy with other things and this is the time that would suit me the best to do this. There would be other times of the year that would be better to draw people but this is the best time for me,” he said.

Miller said he enjoys creating work that can get people talking.

“It’s a conversation piece,” he said.