Tofino Artist Keith Plumley
Keith Plumley moved to Tofino in Clayoquot Sound in 1990 from Ontario
where he had already been painting, woodcarving and wood turning
for 15 years.
He arrived with his antique lathe originally used at a sawmill in
When Keith’s passionate and creative spirit met with the awe
inspiring spirit of
old growth forests, he evolved his wood turning skills and modified
his lathe to be able to create larger turned works, up to 3 feet across.
He wanted his work to suggest the monumental size and spirit of these
ancient trees. Keith now works on a lathe that can work with pieces
up to 6 feet across.
Keith usually chooses burls to work with. Burls are knotty growths
that grow on the sides of trees. They are not used in the lumber industry
so they are cut off the trees where they are cut down and left behind,
usually in very inaccessible areas. Keith has found burls eight feet
across from trees that must have been several hundreds years old. Burls
often contain swirling grains, sometimes ‘birds-eye’ markings
and often ‘light rays,’ a stretch mark that catches the
light in a shifting, iridescent way.
Keith makes bowls, platters and art pieces of all shapes and sizes
but he is most known for his very large pieces. Large feast platters
and bowls of Keith’s are suitable for buffets at restaurants
and homes. Wall pieces have a strong presence hanging in corporate
centres, private businesses, galleries, and homes. He usually works
with red cedar and yellow cedar, sometimes maple, hemlock, spruce,
Some pieces are symmetrically turned on the lathe and some pieces
have the bark and natural edges and shape of the burl.
Some of Keith’s recent work is on display in the lounge
at the Long Beach Lodge in Tofino. He also participates in the Tofino Artist Studio Tour.
Keith Plumley moved to Tofino and Clayoquot Sound from Ontario where he had already been painting, woodcarving and wood turning for 15 years