Todd McAneeley likes to use off-cuts – scrap wood that is destined for the burn pile – to create his art. A self-taught wood carver, he creates one-of-a-kind coffee tables and wall art that come from his deep love of nature and his decades of experience working with wood.
He wasn’t able to pursue that passion earlier in his life due to a seizure disorder.
After high school, he studied drafting at what was then Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University) in Nanaimo and then moved to Winnipeg to run his own home plan business. But his life changed when he had brain surgery to resolve his seizure disorder, an operation that allowed him to safely work with tools.
Todd’s art show, called Wildlife, is on at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council Gallery in Duncan from Oct. 29 to Nov. 12.
As a result, he’s gone from drawing blueprints to mastering artful wood creations. He returned to the Island and took up a new career in woodworking, running his own furniture business for 10 years until 2008.
Now, when he isn’t working for Live Edge Design in the Cowichan Valley, he is inspired by the natural world to create his own wall art, live-edge mirrors and artistic coffee tables depicting moray eels and stingrays to owls and pelicans. “My medium is the same wood that too many people chop up and turn into ashes,” said McAneeley. “I love the aroma, and the feel of the wood. I refuse to copy someone’s work. It has to be one of a kind. I get great satisfaction from that.”