Gilles McInnis

Material of choice

I am an arts and crafts artist who came back to professional practice 4 years ago. I always worked with wood, as a carpenter and a cabinetmaker. It is my material of choice. Thanks to turnery, I am rediscovering it once again.

In my work, I experiment with green wood which results often in unique or utilitarian objects as well as expression objects made from turned wood. For this piece, I drew my inspiration from the tree’s shape. I also produce objects made from green wood in small very limited series packaged upon purchase.

I also turn dry wood that I blend with engineered wood derived from industrial processing. These products stand out by the colour I apply on them.

Since I am also a cabinetmaker, I like to create furniture and at times customize it.

You may find my creations at the Sherbrooke Boutique des métiers d’art. For a few years now, I have taken part in the Salon des métiers d’art de l’Estrie, an event that is held in November of every year. You may find me on the Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec (CMAQ) and on the Corporation des métiers d’art du Québec en Estrie (CMAQE)

What is turnery?

People know what cabinet making is. Yet turnery is much less known.
Traditional turnery consists of shaping a rotating wooden piece, on the same axe, between two holding devices. The fixed holding device is part of the turning machine’s head, it’s drive centre gives the wood piece its rotating motion. The mobile holding device slides on the turning machines bench and adapts itself to different length pieces. (ex.: components of furniture pieces).

In contemporary turnery, we use a variety of chucks that are attached to the holding device and that allow to profile the outside and hollow the pieces. (ex.: utilitarian objects, vases, bowls or expression pieces). In both cases, different customized tools can be fixed to the tool holder that slides as well on the turning machines bench and shapes or hollows the wood piece according to the turner whims. It is possible to turn dried wood as well as green wood taken directly from the tree.
After being in contact with the public, I soon realized people were curious of the materials used and the production techniques. At times, this curiosity makes them want to know how the process works and want to touch the material.
To my great joy, this has led me to give initiation sessions on turnery.

Professional pathway

I imagine life experiences as layers that superpose themselves with time and build us up little by little. My oldest ones go back to my childhood. I was fascinated by objects, amusing, magical, that spur on emotions, and dreams. I was also inhabited by the sea, its characters, and their stories from season to season.

Gilles McInnis

Gilles McInnis

Wood turner

From the get-go, I was attracted by the artistic expression painting and sculpture allow, yet there were no professional possibilities in my region. The city was calling me. There I studied technical drawing, which evolved to artistic drawing and visual arts.
Simultaneously, my first professional experiences in scenography on the stage and in movies initiated me to a dreamlike world’s spatial layout and atmosphere. The pursuit of my quest led me to work with a team of carpenters, cabinetmakers, sculptors, on the restoration of a chapel, monumental architecture where I literally discovered the other side of the picture.
Meeting other artists, through an artist’s centre, I experimented with installation, where the visitor can access the work of art and the artist’s performance and where the artist becomes part of the work of art.
With time, these experiences lead me to man’s habitat, its frames, its carpentry, its furniture. Now self-employed in carpentry and cabinetmaking, I have accomplished many personalized projects and personal creations. These experiences led me to museology or historical themes through archeology, objects that are evidence of a civilization’s habits and customs, unearthed artifacts, witnesses of real events, which particularly touched me.
To see a time-marking object, that carries a story, creation, realization, know-how, and that allows an imaginary trip back in time.

Customized creations

The customized creation of artwork is possible and requires certain preliminary discussions as well as drawings. And since he already loves your work, and a certain chemistry exists, the person may give you “carte blanche” for conception and realization of the work of art.