Small Town Carver with Big Dreams Joins Art World Expo!

Welcome to Art World Expo Tim Motchman!

By: Alyssa Laube

About: A self-taught woodcarver from Vancouver Island, Tim Motchman creates sculptures inspired by nature and beauty. To see some of his work, go to:

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This is your first time at the Expo. What are you expecting or looking forward to?

I don’t really know what to expect. Coming from a small town on the North Island I am sure it will be quite an experience and I want to try it for that reason alone. I am expecting to meet a number of other artists, to see some beautiful works of art and to connect with people who are interested in my work.


How did you get started in woodcarving?

I got started woodcarving quite by chance while cruising the coast by kayak. I was so enthralled by the beauty all around me, had lots of time on my hands and was surrounded by wood on the beach.

British Columbia is known for it’s artistic use of wood in native art. How were you influenced as an artist by B.C’s culture?

I am influenced by the creatures, life and beauty I encounter in my daily activities. Birds on the beach, whales or dolphins swimming by, loons calling, kelp flowing in the tide. The world around me is what influences me and guides my art. I am a coastal artist trying to express my love and appreciation for the world around me.

How has your heritage or family influenced you?

My British heritage as provided me with a strong work ethic and my family has always supported me. My wife Sheila has become a vital part of who I am as an artist. Her support, ideas, encouragement and guidance have made a huge difference in my work and who I am as an artist. I would not be where I am today without her.

How have you developed as an artist over time, both professionally and personally?

My growth as an artist has been one of slow, steady progress. My skills I have grown with each day at my work bench. Pieces I can create today I could not do a year ago. My ability to work with wood and tools evolves constantly. The size of the pieces I can create now has gone from a few inches in length to over 6 feet. The complexity of my work has also grown. My ability to see and understand movement and how to incorporate that movement into my carvings has also grown. I feel that my pieces are becoming more and more “alive”. With the growth of my skills as a carver I feel a real sense of completeness in myself as a person and that reflects in my growing sense of peace and contentment. For the last 13 years I have been able to work full time as a wood carver. Being able to focus on my art has really allowed my work to grow.

How did you receive your training?

I am a self taught carver, and I have trained myself slowly and at times with great difficulty. Each day is a learning day and each day I strive to create the best piece I possibly can. I have taught my eyes, hands, fingers and muscles to work together in wood to bring my carvings to life. I have worked hard to understand my medium and learnt through trial and error all the tools I need to carve the way I do. From milling logs with my chain saw mill, to working with adze, mallet, chisels, shaping tools, sandpaper and finally finishing.

What type of environment do you prefer to work in (ie: a studio, home, etc.)?

I prefer to work in my studio which is divided into three parts. (There is) an outside work area under a clear roof where I do the chainsaw work, grinding, power sanding, planning etc. The real dusty work is done there. The bulk of my carving is done by hand in my inside shop which has a large work bench under a large window. I work standing up and enjoy the view of the ocean, the warmth, music and my large range of tools. I have finishing room where I finish my pieces away from any dust. It is here that also do my drawing and packaging to ready pieces for shipping.

What was the first piece of art you sold?

The first piece of art I sold was to Dr. Paul Sponge and Helena Symonds of Orca Lab on Hanson Island. It was an owl to go above their front door to bring good luck to their home. It is still there after 28 years.

How do you challenge yourself in order to improve or develop new ideas?

Each day I strive to make the best possible carving that I am capable of. I keep in mind that some one is going to have the this carving for years and it needs to be the very best I can do.

Did you always want to be in woodcarving? If not, what did you want to be and when/why did you change your mind?

I had no idea of being a woodcarver growing up nor as a young adult. Woodcarving came to me from my desire to live a simple life on the coast. Before becoming a woodcarver, which is a constant process, I was in the navy, worked with handicapped adults, tree planted and drove boats.

Do you currently have a favorite artist?

I have a number of favorite artists which are in no particular order: Charles Edenshaw, Bill Reid, E.J. Hughes, Robert Davidson, The Group of Seven, Robert Field, “Kayak” Bill Davidson, Emily Carr.

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