Originally from Ireland, where he trained as a geologist, Des emigrated to Canada in 1969 to work in the mining industry in British Columbia. Subsequently, he joined the faculty of Douglas College, British Columbia’s largest community college in Metro Vancouver, where he taught Geology and Environmental Science for 25 years. For the next 11 years he served as the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology before retiring in 2006. He has displayed his work in several private galleries and collections and has exhibited on several occasions in the Port Moody Arts Centre gallery. He is a member of the Greater Vancouver Woodturners Guild and The American Association of Woodturners. Presently, he lives in the village of Belcarra (on the edge of Metro Vancouver) with his wife and painter Adrienne Peacock. Their home overlooks the ocean and north shore mountains which constantly provide both with inspiration for future projects.

Artist’s Statement

“After leaving the world of academe, I have been able to concentrate on my passion for working with wood through furniture making, wooden boat building and especially turning various objects, mostly from found wood from my garden. I think it is an extraordinary luxury to be able to spend much of my time in this beautiful place turning what often is generally regarded as firewood into a variety of bowls, boxes and vases. While I often include exotic or specialty woods in my designs, I get the greatest pleasure from gradually opening up a rough piece of fresh or green wood to reveal a delicate array of textures, colour or figure often not obvious from the external form of the material. Wood is a very accommodating material which can readily be carved, coloured and textured to enhance its original beauty.”

Through his training as a professional geologist, Des has developed a long standing interest in the natural world, frequently incorporating rocks, minerals and fossils into his turned pieces. A recent interest is in using driftwood found on the beaches below his home in Belcarra as a setting for his turned objects. Another source of inspiration is from his colleagues and visiting professional woodturners to the Greater Vancouver Woodturners Guild, an organization of many gifted artists who freely share their techniques talents and insights with others interested in this art form.