PEORIA, Ariz. - Arizona is known for its beautiful, diverse landscapes and one Peoria man is bringing that beauty into people’s homes.
He takes wood from trees that have been cut down and turns it into functional art with electricity.
Don’t try this at home.
"It’s art of electrocuting the wood at 20,000 volts," said Garie Chavez, owner of GC Creative Works.
Chavez, fascinated by mother nature, has recreated some of her finest phenomena in his own home.
"I’m basically recreating a lightning strike into the wood in slow motion."
It all started when he was 19. Living in Glendale at the time, newly married, with no furniture, he decided to build his own coffee table. That led to repurposing wine bottles and then incorporating wood to make functional art.
Charcuterie boards, wine bottle art, coffee tables, cutting boards — he even made a headboard for a family home in Wickenburg.
Garie takes wood from local trees and turns it into something beautiful.
"These are all from individuals or tree services that would either call me or I would find them on CraigsList.. and they are cutting a tree down and say, ‘Do you want it?’ We range from Indian rosewood to Willow to mesquite, Chilean mesquite, Argentinian mesquite, you have African sumac, you have olive, Mediterranean olive. In the Valley alone and in Maricopa County, we have over a million trees and we cut them and they go to landfills and I’m just a small fish here trying to recover these and try to repurpose it and help the Earth."
Each handcrafted item is unique and he made the machine he uses.
Garie says the fractal art designs are also pretty popular.
"People are fascinated by that feature on that particular wood. Adding epoxy inlay in different colors.. it just brings more beauty to it."
An artist at his core, Garie sees more than just wood. He sees potential. But this is more than just a job. It’s an opportunity to give trees new life and he’s grateful to families willing to part with a piece of their home.
"I usually tell them I’m really thankful that you’re giving me this. In return I would like to make you a charcuterie board. It’s part of their life, it’s part of their home from day one when the tree was only a couple feet tall and outgrew the 40 feet and now it’s just a way of me giving it back.
"This is it. This is my passion every day. I’m just very fortunate to be given this talent to be able to do this and pass it on to people. It’s a good feeling and you see people just having multiple items of your art in their homes.. that makes it greater too."
If you’re interested in Garie’s work, check out http://www.gccreativeworks.com.
If you have an idea about a product made in Arizona, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share your story.
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