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Jan Claibourne

Was A Tree Gallery

"I let the wood tell me what to do."

Over 30 years ago, Jan started out making simple wood objects such as cars, animals and puzzles for his son. Over the years, Jan’s creativity grew, stealing time in his shop here and there to make something new. He eventually ventured into conceptual boxes and decorative items and has now found his creativity in larger pieces ranging from furniture, to art pieces. With one simple philosophy...

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... in mind, “let the wood lead the way,” Jan created Was A Tree™ in 2009.

Jan aspired to create quality craftsmanship from the beginning as is seen in all of his work. However, through hard work and intense research, Jan has accomplished a higher level of dexterity and technique that has really allowed his artistry to come to fruition. The progression can be seen most notably in his work over the last few years as the pieces become more artistic and unique.

With such respect for the wood he uses, Jan strives only to use
trees that are dead or damaged in some way so that nothing is
solely cut down for the wood he uses. When reminiscing about
a recent trip to the saw mill, Jan says, “inspiration often comes
to me once I see the freshly cut piece of wood.” having no prior design in mind. It brings him so much joy to go to the saw mill
not knowing what treasure the wood will offer.

Jan also finds the “imperfections” of the wood are the most expressive and tries to incorporate them into every piece. Nature
has done a beautiful job and Jan feels like it is his responsibility to tell its story. Interesting grain patterns, knots, holes and worm veins are Jan’s true muse highlighting that each piece truly
‘Was A Tree.’

Jan believes, even at his age, that his work as an artist is just getting started.

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