I am enchanted to make things with my hands. After 40 years of creating things for a living, I still can hardly believe that I get to do this all the time. Handmade has soul. It has life and the character of the maker and the Divine. There just isn’t the spark in things that have been manufactured for me.
Gary Wiz Burns
I am Gary Burns, better known as Wiz, the Tree Wizard.
I started carving for a living in 1978. In the beginning I sold at craft shows, then established "The Tree Wizard Gallery" in June Lake, California from 1984-2000. I am now carving at my home studio in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Carving is my Love and my Passion. Nothing else that I do gives me more pleasure. I believe that focusing on Love and Forgiveness is the gateway to the best of all possible experiences in life.
Carving tree scenes in slabs were some of the first carvings I did and I still love carving tree scenes. Each tree scene is carved from a single piece of wood with mostly a high speed drill, similar to a dentist drill. This enables me to get the detail you see. Each piece is completely original.
I really enjoy carving in burl wood. Each piece of burl is a work of art in itself. I carve the Wizards and Fantasy Fish in Pine knots. They have such an interesting quality about them.
I love to twist reality a few turns. I hope that my whimsical creations make you smile.
What got you started crafting?
I have been carving since 1971 and am self-taught. I put myself through college and had no money for Christmas gifts. Buying a mail order jig saw from Finger Hut, I started experimenting. I haven't stopped experimenting for 40 years now. I couldn't imagine doing anything else now.
What is your source of inspiration?
My love for making things out of wood, nature and Divinity. I love Wizards in fantasy stories. Wizards, elves and fairies. And I love the woodland forests. The dark coziness of the woods and the creatures that live in them. And I love Love and hearts represent that for me. I love carving hearts!
Some people believe that there are no miracles but I believe that everything is a miracle. To wake up in the morning and take a deep breath. To look out over the woods. To go down to my shop in the woods. How could I ever think it wasn't all a miracle. And to make fun things that tickle my soul. Ah, Life is Grand.
What have you made recently?
I have been making some tree scenes with dancing bears here recently. I so enjoy creating whimsical bears really getting down in the woods. And I have just gotten back into making Aquaknots, my whimsical fantasy fish. I so love these deep sea creatures. The way they smile and their Kool hair dews.
And then there are always the Wizards that I can't stay away from. Happy and stern at times. I do love the wizards.
Where do you sell your crafts presently?
I have an Etsy shop that I sell almost everything I make on. I also sell some work in 6 galleries in Oregon and Washington.
Why are handmade crafts important to you?
I am enchanted to make things with my hands. After 40 years of creating things for a living, I still can hardly believe that I get to do this all the time. Handmade has soul. It has life and the character of the maker and the Divine. There just isn't the spark in things that have been manufactured for me.
Grants Pass, Oregon
Gary Wiz Burns