Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Feature artist chosen

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D. L. Creations owner and craftsman David Loerchner

Conservation Dinner Committee names D. L. Creations, of Bayfield, as feature artist for 2018 gala charitable auction fundraiser on April 12

Talented woodworking by David Loerchner to be featured at charity auction; Past feature artists have worked in ice, metal, wood, glass, fine art, culinary art

The Conservation Dinner Committee has selected D. L. Creations, of Bayfield, as the feature artist for the 2018 gala charitable community fundraising auction. “We are honoured to recognize the craftsmanship of David Loerchner and D. L. Creations for their acclaimed woodwork,” said Dinner Committee Co-Chair Larry Taylor.

The accomplished custom woodworking enterprise, featuring the creations of owner and craftsman David Loerchner, is the 22nd feature artist selected over the 29-year history of the Dinner and Auction. “The Dinner Committee has featured artists working in fine art, in culinary arts, in ice, wood, glass, and metal,” said Dinner Committee Co-Chair Jim Beckett. “The local artistry and craftsmanship of this skilled woodworker is most deserving of this recognition.”

A lifelong Bayfield resident, Loerchner said he is honoured to have been selected as this year’s feature artist. One of his large pieces will be included in the live auction at the April 12, 2018 Dinner. When asked, in an interview, which of his many wood pieces makes him most proud the craftsman smiles and says, “I’m proud of every piece.” 

The feature artist’s work ranges from the rustic to the finished. He sometimes uses different kinds of wood in a single piece and selects the woods based on their distinctive qualities including colour. He sometimes adds artistic flair such as a bowtie effect or Juniper tree flourishes inserted into a Walnut piece. Once, he created a bench for a hair salon and incorporated into the bench a different kind of wood, cut finely into the shape of scissors. That took many hours to achieve the required intricate detail but the final result was inspiring. 

The Bayfield native doesn’t just create woodwork – he envisions inspired creations and then makes them reality. In one case, he took Butternut wood and realized a table with a stream down the middle. Many of his pieces are real “conservation starters,” he says. The wide range of eye-catching pieces at D. L. Creations are testaments to the abilities of this Bayfield wood artist but he said “Mother Nature does most of the work.” 

A quotation attributed to Albert Einstein says: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” The Bayfield craftsman likes this quote and repeats it as a mantra that guides much of his work.

In a world where many things are mass-produced or thrown away, this Bayfield man is creating unique, lasting, beautiful, quality objects that will become part of homes and businesses for decades or even generations to come.  “Some people make furniture,” the firm’s website says. “We, on the other hand, prefer to build legacies.”

The Conservation Dinner – which supports projects in local communities such as outdoor nature education, parks, the Jones pedestrian bridge project, accessible trails, and more – is a good fit with this craftsman’s love of the great outdoors. The high demand for his wooden pieces means he doesn’t get out fishing or enjoying the outdoors as much as he would like but nature still inspires his work. “At D. L. Creations we are inspired by the brilliance of the Earth,” the firm’s website (dlcreations.ca) says. “Our fascination with and respect for the outdoors is what motivated us to begin making beautiful housewares from reclaimed pieces of wood.” 

The noted custom woodworker sources his wood locally and he often re-purposes wood from previous uses – such as a torn-down barn or cottage or trees removed to make room for power lines. The fact that much of the wood is recovered and given new life in a new form offers a richer history to the pieces. The purchaser knows a piece may have a story to tell, whether the wood once was someone’s favourite tree as a child, a tree on a farm or neighbourhood road, or part of a barn. In one case, a large tree that had been felled was cut into 450-pound slabs right in someone’s backyard and that wood will soon become a new creation. In another case, a beam from a torn-down cottage with sentimental value is transformed into a unique coffee table that will last for generations in a new dwelling. 

“Rather than produce more waste by using manufactured materials, we forage aged wood from a variety of locations,” according to the firm’s website. “This allows us to create totally unique and incredibly durable products while continuing to preserve our planet. Sometimes, the perfect coffee table is lying inside the offcuts of a sawmill. Occasionally, a set of night stands are waiting to be created from the rafters of an abandoned barn.”

The local craftsman started making his wood creations on a mobile home front porch. That front porch became a workshop and the business continued to grow as neighbours told other neighbours about his talent. The skilled woodworker took his longtime interest in working with wood and, in 2014, he moved D. L. Creations to 75761 Bluewater Highway, near the Foodland store and just south of the Bayfield downtown. The craftsman and businessman has a large showroom, has added a mill, and has reinvigorated the former Captain’s Cove building on Highway 21 at the village’s south end. 

The popular custom woodwork firm in Bayfield includes work by Loerchner as well as two local carvers. Unique pieces have included everything from a carving of Uncle Sam to other treasures. The amazing array of woodwork in the showroom includes benches, chairs, dining tables, and bedroom suites. 

In the early days, the wood artist worked on smaller projects such as end tables but after the growing success of the business the woodworker was soon creating 15-feet-long dining tables. “When I started out it was a lot of smaller stuff but the scale of the projects has increased,” the craftsman said in an interview for this article. One of his biggest early jobs was transforming Ash trees (that needed to be felled as they would have died from the invasive beetle, the Emerald Ash Borer) into functional and beautiful pieces of wood art that are show-stoppers at The Ashwood Inn.

The wood artist has been recognized for his high standards of craftsmanship, eye for style, and ability to transform wood from many locales into wood artistry. The highly-praised wood creations by Loerchner have been featured in many publications. A London Free Press cover story by Janis Wallace stated that “in the hands of David Loerchner, felled trees and discarded boards are turned into timeless pieces of furniture and keepsakes.” 

The prominent highway location of D. L. Creations draws in many people to the showroom but it’s ‘word-of-mouth’ from pleased former customers that does the best job of bringing customers to this Bayfield locale. Some custom woodwork customers have been visibly moved when they see a tree or a piece of wood, that had once played a different role in their lives, transformed for a new use and begin a new legacy of service. 

Past honorees named as Conservation Dinner feature artist include: Iceculture Inc. (2017); Jim Dawe, Murals in Metal (2016); James Eddington, Culinary Feature Artist (2015); Tammy Laye (2014; 1990-1995); Madeleine Roske (2013); Martin Zimmer (2012); Catherine Weber (2011); Fran Roelands (2010); Bill Nieuwland (2009); David Bannister (2008); the late Tim Clark (2007 and 1997); Teresa Marie (2006); Rae Ann Ladouceur (2005); Elisabeth Tonner-Keats (2004); Randy Jones (2003); Fred Negrijn (2002); Ken Jackson (2001); Kent Wilkens (2000); Barry Richman (1999); Flora Doerr (1998); and Peter Etril Snyder (1996).

About the Conservation Dinner

The Conservation Dinner gala charitable fundraising auction has been a success in supporting local projects throughout communities of the Ausable Bayfield watersheds in an area stretching from Port Franks, Ailsa Craig, Thedford, Arkona and area in the south; to Clinton, Bayfield, and Seaforth and area in the north; and all the communities in between. This community fundraising event is organized by community volunteers, the Exeter Lions Club, and the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation. Donors, patrons and guests, local businesses, artists, and volunteers have helped this charitable event raise more than $1.1 million over the past 28 years for community projects. 

This dinner and auction was started in 1990 and the Exeter Lions Club joined as co-partner in 1991. The net profits are split 50-50 between community conservation projects of the Foundation throughout the watershed and community conservation projects of the Exeter Lions Club. The 2018 Dinner will also raise funds for community projects such as parks and accessible trails, the Jones pedestrian bridge project on the South Huron Trail, youth programs including bursary awards and job opportunities, and outdoor nature education and recreation in local communities. 

The annual charitable gala features live and silent auctions of art and other distinctive items including travel packages and sports and entertainment memorabilia. The event also includes special raffles, general raffles, appetizers, wine tasting, fun and fellowship, and a wonderful meal.

The 29th Conservation Dinner is to be held on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at South Huron Recreation Centre at 94 Victoria Street East in Exeter. Patrons who buy their ticket before March 5, 2018 are eligible to be included in a draw for Early Bird prizes. Patrons receive a charitable gift receipt, for income tax purposes, for a portion of the ticket price. 

For more information on the Conservation Dinner visit conservationdinner.com or abca.on.ca.

 
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