Walking Sticks & House Signs

by Phoebe Dunbar | August 15, 2020

Its still Covid time out here on the west coast. This means times are still slow for Phoebewood this summer. My normal sale outlets – gift shops and special market events – are not open this summer… nor are there many tourists visiting the Sooke area. For those who do get here, or are residents of the Sooke area, I am able to receive visitors to my home based carving shed and practice physical distancing.

So, what’s new?

So what’s new this summer in the carving shed? Diamond willow walking sticks! Rough diamond willow sticks, from Lake Nipegon area, harvested this past winter in Ontario by “Gus” trekking into some frozen beaver habitat wetlands, on snow shoes, into the wilderness, followed by wolves, 20 below? Later shipped to Sooke via Canada Post! This strong hardy willow has diamond shaped patterns rich in colour. The diamonds are created by a certain fungus that affects the willow as it grows. A most attractive willow stick, light weight, perfect for walking/hiking sticks. Perfect gift too for that special friend who loves to hike and walk the family dog! I will have a number of these sticks available for purchasers this autumn and Christmas sales.

Here are some photos of the sticks I use – in their raw form, peeled and ready for sanding and finishing touches, and finally finished with natural oils to highlight the contrast between the heartwood diamond willow pattern and pale, creamy-coloured sap wood.


I have also been carving house signs for friends, lots of hand-carved kitchen spoons, and more medium-sized bowls with striking one of a kind red cedar grain patterns. Soon I will be carving some very old red plum wood. Three-dimensional sculptured pieces for the opening of the 2nd co-housing project here in Sooke – West Wind. The aged plum tree trunk with many twisted spiral features is from the Jack Homer property where the new co housing project is under construction, waterfront, Sooke Harbour.

My favourite 2019 carved sculpture, Windswept sitting on a Foggy Mountain forged stand, was purchased recently and now proudly resides in a Canmore home, high up in the Rockies!

To arrange a visit to my studio and carving shed – e mail me or telephone. Visit the carving shed to pick a piece of wood you would like carved. A burl bowl, feast plate, decorative wood art, fish, owls, kitchen utensils, folk art, house signs… commissions always welcome.

Call me 250 642 4342 or e mail phoebetwin@telus.net!

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