Les Eblouis In Sacré-Cœur In The Quebec Maritime Region Of Canada.
Woodscraftsman Steve Leezou Talks Angels In The Wood Of Nature
MRV: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider
Angels FROM THE FOREST: Les Eblouis WOODMAKER
Woodscraftman Weaves A Tale Of Love & Sustainability Where The Art Comes From The Nature Of The Quebec Boreal Forest
For Steve Leezou, being close to nature, is a state of being and literally has fueled the texture of his business. Leading off the mouth of the Fjord near the town of Tadoussac in Quebec Maritime, the water cuts back with a sense of majesty. Sacré-Cœur or Sacred Heart is a hidden gem surrounded by the immense boreal forest. It is this material that feeds Leezou's art in his small workshop in the woods, creating beauty from the displaced wood. Leezou gave MRV: The Buzz Editor In Chief Tim Wassberg a tour of his workplace and the inspiration that drives him.
The Buzz: Thank you for having us out here. Could you sort of tell us where we are first?
Steve Leezou: We are in a little part of a village. But this is kind of out of the traffic. Pure nature. So here is our little workshop, open door. I could say open wall (laughing) as you see. So we like to be outside. So we work here and we have the display to show what we do, our creation to people that come and visit.
The Buzz: Now can you tell me about these kinds of creations you're making here?
SL: Here we have the plates. We do plates for fruits or for nuts or bread or whatever you put on a coffee table or on the main table. And they're made out of the bark of the different species of trees, all trees that grows in the area we call the boreal forest. So there's cedar, pine, maple, poplar, cypress etc. So us we never cut the living tree. That's important for us. First, it's not necessary because there is plenty of matter to use. After the cycle of life, the tree falls down, we take a little piece, we bring it home, we work it out and bring it back to life in some other form. Okay. For example, this is a piece of bark of the red pine. So we carve it, polish, polish, polish and then we put some holy martyr oil on it. It's oil that is not toxic. So you can put food on it. But this type of oil, is very expensive, very selective, [but has] great finish and lasts a lifetime. But it has to be applied with the rules of art, of course. It take time but when you do the good process, you see how it can change [the final result]
The Buzz: How long does it take you to create a piece like this?
SL: There's no basic time frame that I can relate to because each piece of wood is different, each species has its own characteristics and some take more time than other. So we just keep working all the time (laughing), and piece appears. Okay? So just for an example, this is another species. It's poplar. Look the beauty of the finish. So with our little plate what we like to do is when you put something in, it's like that, but when you don't use it, it's just used for the beauty of the matter.
The Buzz: And you can do carvings as well as jewelry?
SL: For the carving, what I like to do, my [process] if you wish, is I work with the beaver. The beaver does all the hairstyle for me. You see all the teeth marks here, that's the hairstyle, then I do the rest. So he does the hard part and I do the easy part. You see all the teeth marks....
The Buzz: That's actually from a beaver?
SL: The real beaver. Those are driftwood that I gather in the Fjord. So they have soaked in salt water. And that's very good for carving for the wood. It makes sure that there won't be any parasites and it gives a special texture to the wood. So it's like ivory a little bit. So that's the thing with the carving with the beaver. Another carving I do, we call it slice of life. It's a little piece that I carve in the pure art of the tree. Okay? Each species have different pattern design, but I would say further than that, each tree have its own history, its own [identity].
The Buzz: Every tree has its own story?
SL: Exactly. So this little piece is meant to bring the history of the tree into the palm of your hand. So you can see the beauty hidden within. And it's an object for the pleasure of touch.
The Buzz: How important are the senses for you...what you can see, taste, touch, feel...it's about feeling.
SL: It's all that, and it's to be dazzled by the beauty of nature.
The Buzz: Where did your love of nature begin?
SL: I guess because I born on the Magdalene Islands. And there, there's nothing else but nature (laughing). Wind, sea and the nature. I grew up there. And one day I came here to the Fjord with my little sailboat and my motor broke down. So I had to get ashore and it took few weeks to get the parts to repair. So pending that time, I met love. I met Lulu and when my boat was ready to go, I wasn't sure I wanted to leave. So I stayed.
The Buzz: Were you already living in this area?
SL: No, no. I was coming from the Magdalene's just for the pleasure of the adventure, but some force of the universe, however, made me stay (laughing). And that's it. So we live in -- we cut just a little piece of forest and we live in the forest. I have built a kind of yacht and we live -- it's like camping all year long (laughing).
The Buzz: That seems to be a big thing here...it's simple like the camping. It seems like people are really trying to get back to this idea of being close to nature.
SL: Yes. I could say it's so. And many people from around the world come here specifically for that reason, to live and experience close to nature. The strength of the Fjord is something just amazing. So all the forests around come with it, I think. And the Fjord feeds the forest and the forest feeds it.
A graduate of New York University's Tisch School Of The Arts with degrees in Film/TV Production & Film Criticism, Tim has written for magazines such as Moviemaker, Moving Pictures, Conde Nast Traveler UK and Casino Player. He enjoys traveling and distinct craft beers among other things.
Make Sure To Stay At:
Camping Summot Du Fjord, which is located close to Steve's place, along the Saguenay Fjord. The camoground is open from June to October with a price calculation of $1.50 CAD per foot for an RV Site.