Jackie Toner grew up admiring the rocky shores and lighthouses across the Maritimes. Now, she recreates miniature coastline scenes with unique wood formations.
Toner is a New Brunswick-born, Windsor N.S.-based artist whose work is being featured at Argyle Fine Art gallery’s first SPARK! showcase, which highlights new and emerging local artists.
“I am excited to showcase my pieces to folks passionate about being a Maritimer,” Toner said at the opening, adding it’s also for visitors and newcomers “seeing the East Coast in a new way.”
Toner’s sculptures feature jagged, rocky coastlines topped with striped lighthouses made from various types of wood.
She uses a form of woodturning — it involves spinning wood on a lathe and carving using handheld tools — and she only started doing it two years ago.
Toner, also known as Woods(wo)man Woodworking, describes herself as a “self-directed artist.”
Her woodworking skills grew during a residency at the Centre for Craft Nova Scotia in 2022. That’s when she focused on creating one wooden lighthouse from each Maritime province. Her showcase includes Sambro Island; built in 1758 it is Canada’s oldest surviving lighthouse, according to the federal government.
Next to the display are pictures of the lighthouses Toner used as inspiration.
“Recently, I started breaking some rules,” said Toner, adding most woodturning artists in Halifax are making functional items like bowls and plates.
“I am trying to show people a different way of woodturning they don’t usually see.”
Toner told gallery attendees the wood under the lighthouses is made from unique burls and growths on trees, and she used wood-burning techniques for the dark grey colour of the base.
Argyle Fine Art co-owner Adriana Afford said the artists were chosen from a previous show called Pre-Shrunk, where 300 creators submitted a selection of four-by-five-inch pieces.
The artists who received the most interest from clients are featured in SPARK!, said Afford.
Toner is one of them — she created woodturned forest scenes.
Spring is “a time for new things,” Afford said. “So, we thought this is a great time to celebrate emerging artists.”
The showcase is at 1559 Barrington Street until March 21.