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James Andison

Vertical Artist James Andison
Virtical Artist James Andison


James Andison was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1969. His family moved to Winnipeg two years later, and it is there he attended grade school. He graduated in 1987, his favorite subject being Art, which was a radical departure from the business-oriented family environment he had grown up in.

James started working summer jobs at the age of 13. The holidays he took were with his family to a couple of cottages in Northwestern Ontario. One of these was quite isolated - a true 'bush camp', as he likes to call it. It was his favorite place, despite all the chores that were required to maintain it. The work was rewarded with an abundance of Walleye fishing holes, old logging roads to explore, and a wood-fired sauna to clean up in. It gave James a real appreciation of the woods and nature - something which was to have a great impact on his future.

After high school, he lived and worked in a number of different places, including Banff, Vancouver, Calgary, Santa Barbara and Rossland, B.C. He also took trips to Europe, Africa, Mexico and South America during this time. But it was in Rossland that his life would change forever, for it was in this fairy tale, mountain town that he met Tammie, who was to become his wife, and her two year old daughter, Ali. When James enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, the three went together as a family. Vertical Art - By Artist James Andison

Upon graduating, James went to work for his father in the heavy equipment industry. He spent the next five years as a sales representative covering Northwestern Ontario, with additional business trips to Manitoba and Nunavut. He also added two more to his growing family: Senna, a daughter, and Sully, a son.

The stress of corporate life didn't agree with James, so he, Tammie and the three children packed up and moved back to the mountains, this time landing in Canmore, Alberta. He quickly was hired to represent a wildlife photographer, and travelled to all the major parks of Alberta and eastern British Columbia.

James had many hobbies, but often mentioned a desire to try wood carving. On more than one occasion, Tammie witnessed him chipping away at chunks of wood with various 'tools' including wire cutters and pruning shears. His first few attempts, needless to say, were not the works of art he creates today and taking pity on him, Tammie surprised him with his first set of chisels for his birthday.

James took to carving like a duck takes to water. He started with small masks, then bigger masks, and then people's faces. It became his passion. When he started to bring his work inside the house, leaving wood chips all over, Tammie wondered what she had created with her gift of chisels!

Then fate intervened once more. They were looking at a larger house to purchase and while standing in the garage of a show home, Tammie jokingly commented that James would finally have a space in which to do his carving, and 'could keep the mess out of the kitchen'. The real estate agent overheard, and asked if he was a carver. She represented a home builder that was looking for a carver to create a totem pole for their new show home. James got in touch with the builder, and offered to carve an eight-foot pole as a sample; if the builder liked it, James would get the job to do the 16-foot pole for the show home. The builder liked the sample pole but was still apprehensive about the cost of the 16-foot pole. Against all advice to the contrary, James offered to do the large pole 'on spec'. It was a deal the builder couldn't refuse, and so James went to work. In the end, the builder loved the pole, installed it, and the house won the 2002 SAM Award for Best New Home.

As the saying goes, the rest is history. That job lead to many more in several homes and to the different creations you see on the website. The Andisons moved to beautiful Nelson, B.C., in the heart of the Kootenay Mountains, where James could be closer to his wood suppliers. The family lives in a straw bale, timber frame home on 32 acres of forested land near the top of a mountain. It is not unlike his father's bush camp back in Northwestern Ontario, right down to the wood heat and endless chores. (Sometimes in the winter, it snows so much that they have to pack-in their supplies on foot!) They are surrounded by wildlife: grizzlies, elk, black bears, cougars and deer. And James continues to pursue his passion for carving in his 40 X 80 - foot timber frame studio, set in the natural environment so dear to his heart.

In James' opinion, there is no better product to work with than the rich, organic medium of wood. He looks forward to creating that special piece for you that will perhaps become a family heirloom, and a monument to stand the test of time.

About Sweetwood Creations...
Surfer Girl - Vertical Art - By Artist James Andison
Fireplace Mantel - By Artist James Andison
Surfer Girl - Vertical Art - By Artist James Andison

Hand-carved Table - By Artist James Andison
Custom Tables - Cornus Canadenses flower - By Artist James Andison
Custom Doors - By Artist James Andison
Custom Tables - Behr Tung oil finish - By Artist James Andison

Vertical Art - By Artist James Andison
Vertical Art - Buddha - By Artist James Andison
Vertical Art - Goddess of the Changing Seasons - By Artist James Andison
Cedar Mask - By Artist James Andison
Vertical Art - By Artist James Andison
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James Andison - Sweetwood Creations
Phone (250) 551-5068

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