Roy Ward 2018


Roy was born, raised and worked in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He comes from an artistic and creative family. His father was an Industrial Arts teacher. His father and mother ran a pottery and ceramics business out of their basement. It was inevitable that Roy would inherit some of their talents and creativity. There was also a woodturning lathe in the basement of the house and Roy could not resist taking a turn at learning how to use it.

The family spent many summer vacations in the Whiteshell and his parents retired to a log cabin on a lake near the Whiteshell. After he married, Roy and his family spent many weekends and vacations in the guesthouse his parents built next door to the log cabin. The lathe had also moved to the lake and was set up in the boathouse which gave Roy plenty of opportunity to practice woodturning. Roy upgraded the guest cottage to a four season home including a woodworking shop where he moved the lathe and continued his woodturning.

Roy and his wife Tanyss are both retired now and have a new home built on the site of that guesthouse/retirement home which was destroyed by fire in 2009. Roy now has a new shop, a new woodturning lathe and is still learning and trying new things. Access to their home and the shop is by boat in the summer, by ice road in the winter and on foot in the spring and fall.

Most of the wood he uses is salvaged from firewood piles and cutoffs from construction sites. Birch trees provide his favourite wood for turning. He also has a connection with a local contractor who builds timber frame homes and allows Roy to collect the cutoffs from the timbers, usually Red Pine. You may have seen some of Roy’s work in the Handmade Village at the Winnipeg Folk Festival or shops in Winnipeg, Kenora, Westhawk and Falcon Lakes

Some, but not all of the pieces Roy makes have some utility to them. Many of his Birch vases are waterproofed or have a glass insert so that they can hold cut flowers. Roy likes turning Birch logs because he never knows what nature has hidden inside. Often what is revealed as the log is turned will dictate the final shape of the piece. Spalting and fungus stains can create some wonderful patterns but If the wood lacks character then Roy will embellish it by staining, painting and wood burning.

Roy’s latest interests are in folk art painting, marbling, block printing and acrylic pouring. He is always keen to try new techniques and has even tried his hand at Encaustic painting. Occasionally he makes jewelry using some of the byproducts from his other creations.

If he is not in the shop you will probably find him out canoeing or cross country skiing.