Avery Turner

Avery Turner

Featured Sculpture

Avery Turner - Cedar Sky Garden (wood, dirt, plants, worms)

Local artist Avery Turner's first submission to Sculpturewalk is visually appealing - and practical too.

Cedar Sky Garden is impressively forward thinking. Inspired by modern architecture designs and created using lovely cedar wood, Turner's sculpture is tower-like on initial viewing. The details (and title of the work) become more apparent though on closer inspection.

Boxes attached at irregular intervals dot the outside of the lower section. They are of varying shapes, protruding from the horizontal boards that make up the lower half. Each is filled with soil and flowers, providing lovely colour while acting as a contrast to the cedar.

From the lower section rises a narrower, vertically oriented structure that ends in a sloped roof. It is actually a composter feeding the flower-filled boxes that embellish all four sides below. The tower is decorated with pieces of aged silver cedar in a tree motif on one side; the longest side of it uses the silver birch in an impressive wood mosaic. Turner salvaged the silver cedar from a fence he had built several years before. He explains the ingenuity he incorporates into the piece:

"All of the exterior boxes have a three inch diameter hole drilled into them. The roots of the plants feed into the main planter box (lower part) via these holes.

"The center tower is where the worms and compost are stored. The worms are able to access the main soil through holes drilled in the tower. At the base of the tower is a hatch that opens - worm castings can be harvested and reused in the garden. The idea is a full cycle of organic life for the garden."

Cedar Sky Garden showcases his woodworking skills and his inventiveness extremely well. It is attractive, imaginative and cleverly designed - organic in feel, form and function.

He is inspired by the positivity that results from the creative process - the application of ideas realized through composition and refinement in any medium. "Mine happens to be working with wood mostly," he says, "but I think a person's emotional and mental state is improved considerably by the act of creating something out of any material.

"The medium, whether painting, writing, sculpting or whatever, doesn't really matter. Anything and everything creative is beneficial to the psyche and the soul in my estimation."

Self taught, Turner has been creating lovely, functional works in wood for a number of years. He operates a small side business that regularly supplies patio structures - planter boxes, vertical gardens, trellises and pergolas - for a restaurant company in Calgary.

"I still have a day job," he says with a laugh, "but certainly my woodworking is a nice outlet for my imagination. There is something calming and comforting about taking an idea or conceptual thought and ultimately turning it into a well-built finished product."

His first work on display at Sculpturewalk supports that statement absolutely. Cedar Sky Garden is compelling and inspiring. Vertical gardening is an established undertaking nowadays; Turner's sculpture gives form and beauty to that increasingly common practice.

Artist's Sculptures