Working with various types of wood, artist Tom Torraville creates 3D carvings that can pretty much take any shape or form.
Using a CNC router to create his artwork, Torraville designs diverse wood, glass and plastic pieces that can take anywhere from one hour to more than 25 hours to complete.
“I started out in Prince George in the basement of my house,” Torraville said. “I bought a CNC machine to learn how to run it and I spent the last three years learning how to understand the machine.”
A CNC router (or computer numerical control router) is a computer-controlled cutting machine related to the hand held router used for cutting various hard materials.
“You go on a computer program and make out what you want to cut and then you put the material on the machine and the machine will cut out what you want,” Torraville said.
Torraville was born in Prince George and grew up in Yellowknife, NT. His artistic passion was inspired from his uncle who he built a variety of machines with.
Torraville and his family relocated to Port Alberni close to five months ago.
Torraville’s wood art pieces are typically made using mahogany, pine, bamboo, maple or yellow cedar and can depict pretty much anything. He can basically turn any picture into a 3D carving on a wood canvas, chairs, tables or “anything to do with wood.”
“I’ve been playing around with things to see what people like,” Torraville said. “My challenge is trying to find what the market wants and what do people want.”
After a carving is complete a coat of oil paint or stain will be added to the wood. The painting is done by Torraville’s partner Shyla Jago. Together they are Northern Hart Designs.
“The artwork is just something that I really enjoy doing and it’s something that we’re doing in our spare time right now but if it picks up then that’s something that I would focus on doing more,” Torraville said.
He also does engraving and makes V-carvings, a method that uses a V-shaped bit to carve a design into the material. Having only been in Port Alberni for a short time, Torraville said the Valley has a lot more opportunity for him artistically than Prince George.
“I came from an industrial place, so here is just a way different component,” he said.
Torraville has his first exhibit on display now through March at Burde Beans Coffee and Things.