Thursday, April 2, 2020

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Great Blog Article on me! :)

Wood Carving With Love

Gary Wiz Burns

Random Facts About You?
I am Gary Burns, better known as Wiz, the Tree Wizard.
I started carving for a living in 1978. In the beginning I sold at craft shows, then established "The Tree Wizard Gallery" in June Lake, California from 1984-2000. I am now carving at my home studio in Grants Pass, Oregon.
Carving is my Love and my Passion. Nothing else that I do gives me more pleasure. I believe that focusing on Love and Forgiveness is the gateway to the best of all possible experiences in life.
Carving tree scenes in slabs were some of the first carvings I did and I still love carving tree scenes. Each tree scene is carved from a single piece of wood with mostly a high speed drill, similar to a dentist drill. This enables me to get the detail you see. Each piece is completely original.
I really enjoy carving in burl wood. Each piece of burl is a work of art in itself. I carve the Wizards and Fantasy Fish in Pine knots. They have such an interesting quality about them.
I love to twist reality a few turns. I hope that my whimsical creations make you smile.

What got you started crafting?
I have been carving since 1971 and am self-taught. I put myself through college and had no money for Christmas gifts. Buying a mail order jig saw from Finger Hut, I started experimenting. I haven't stopped experimenting for 40 years now. I couldn't imagine doing anything else now.

What is your source of inspiration?
My love for making things out of wood, nature and Divinity. I love Wizards in fantasy stories. Wizards, elves and fairies. And I love the woodland forests. The dark coziness of the woods and the creatures that live in them. And I love Love and hearts represent that for me. I love carving hearts!
Some people believe that there are no miracles but I believe that everything is a miracle. To wake up in the morning and take a deep breath. To look out over the woods. To go down to my shop in the woods. How could I ever think it wasn't all a miracle. And to make fun things that tickle my soul. Ah, Life is Grand.

What have you made recently?
I have been making some tree scenes with dancing bears here recently. I so enjoy creating whimsical bears really getting down in the woods. And I have just gotten back into making Aquaknots, my whimsical fantasy fish. I so love these deep sea creatures. The way they smile and their Kool hair dews.
And then there are always the Wizards that I can't stay away from. Happy and stern at times. I do love the wizards.

Where do you sell your crafts presently?
I have an Etsy shop that I sell almost everything I make on. I also sell some work in 6 galleries in Oregon and Washington.

Why are handmade crafts important to you?
I am enchanted to make things with my hands. After 40 years of creating things for a living, I still can hardly believe that I get to do this all the time. Handmade has soul. It has life and the character of the maker and the Divine. There just isn't the spark in things that have been manufactured for me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

How to hold the Dremel Tool

                                            HOLDING THE DREMEL TOOL

Many people have a Dremel and wonder what they might do with it. First of all, how to hold the tool is the best place to start. The object is to make the Dremel one with the project. Holding it the way I do allows your hands to be the connection between the tool and the project. Hold it like a pencil and use your other thumb on the front of the hand piece between your thumb and forefinger.

Your little fingers are pushing against the project, securing the project against the Bench.
If you take a scrap piece of wood and try writing something like a poem or anything. Even just a bunch of o's. And making a little abstract carving where you are just experimenting with the bits. Try the tool out with no expectations. It can really be a blast! Get in touch with me if I can help out. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inside the Wiz'z work shop

Welcome to my shop. Here we are inside. The picture in the middle is half way into my 8' x 24' shop. The shop is a refrigerator container that I split in half with a wonderful friend of mine, Matty Wright. He has the half with the big doors. My wonderful partner, Susan, put the end wall up and did the building that covers the container. It makes a great shop. It is very easy to heat in the winter and stays pretty cool in the summer. The picture on the right is right in the shop. Right on the left is where I do my carving. The picture on the lower left shows my carving bench with all of the Dremels hanging up. A carver can't have too many Dremels. The picture on the upper left shows me carving a wizard.

It is a wonderful shop, tucked away in the woods on a mountain side with a great wooded view. I spend a major portion of my life in this little shop making fun carvings for great customers.
Life is an amazing thing. I am very blessed.

My next posting will show some of my wood collection. I have so many fun pieces of wood to work with. Southern Oregon is so near so many forests, including the amazing Redwood Forest.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Wiz Work Shop 9/2011

And here you are, at the Wiz'z Work Shop. Come on in. It is not a large shop as I don't have large tools. Except for my Hobart meat ban saw you see on the right side of the door. This has been a wonderful tool for milling burls and slabs into workable pieces.

On the left side of the door is a hand operated drill press from a local mine for drilling hole in it's timbers. It is just fun to look at. A bit of the way things used to be.

The large slab on the left of the picture is a piece I'm cleaning up and getting ready to design and carve this winter I'm thinkin'. I will post when I get started with it.

There is a chunk of Walnut in front of the door that I am about to mill into slabs for tree carvings or carved hearts. Not sure yet.

Not sure how to format a page yet so I am going to post this and continue doing more posts of my shop, my wood stash and a work in progress.

See you in a bit.



Friday, September 23, 2011

Getting ready to do post showing my home work shop!

I will be doing a post on my home work shop.

We are busy putting food up for this winter. Been drying a lot of veggies. We will make little bags of dried veggie combos for soups and stews and such. Getting lots of tomatoes and drying them. Gonna freeze the dried tomatoes and then put them through the food processor and make tomato flakes for sauces and seasoning.

Carving a lot. Keep putting new pieces on etsy and selling a lot. Etsy has been very good this year. If there is any interest I will post some articles about having an etsy shop.

Hoping to do some articles on wood carving as well.

Just wanted to touch bases and keep things moving along.

All the Love


Sunday, September 18, 2011

And so it begins. Gary Wiz Burns' first blog post

Welp, I sit and begin my blog.

I am a self taught wood carver, carving since 1971. I started carving while I was putting myself through college living in Auburn, California were I worked at the towns Recreation Department. I was going to college at Sierra College at the time. I saw a jig saw in a "Fingerhut" mail order catalog. I had never used a power tool before but thought that I could invest in this tool and maybe make Christmas gifts for my friends and family that I couldn't afford to buy. The saw was $19.99 and though it was a lot of money at the time, I felt I could make all of the gifts that I needed using some boards that I had found when I moved into the place I was renting if I bought this saw. I also invested in a little gouge and chisel set for $1.99.

That year I got so much enjoyment out of making those gifts. One of the first things I made was a branched tree within a frame that I gave to my parents that Christmas. From that year on I would think of what I might make for the next Christmas and then in the early Fall I would start to work, carving in the little bit of free time I had, working full time and going to school full time. It was such a wonderful thing to be doing. I had no examples as hand made things weren't a part of my existence up to that time. So each new thing I learned came straight from my heart and still does to this day.

I graduated from Sierra College in 1970 and then Sacramento State College in 1973. I worked in the Activity Planning Dept. at a huge resort called Sea Pines Plantation Co. on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina; an assistant director in a club house for a large adult community in Palo Alto, California; an assistant manager of a dry docked luxury liner turned into a bar and dinner house in Kodiak, Alaska; and a production manager for a small electronic manufacturing co. in Roseville, California. For those first years out of college I dreamed of perhaps being a wood carver full time and working for myself. I just didn't know were or how to start.

I was laid off from the electronic manufacturing co. in February of 1978. Business had gotten slow and the owners were going to restructure and my job wouldn't exist anymore. I began collecting unemployment and as I started looking for another job I realized that this could be my opportunity to try my hand at wood carving full time. Well, I became nearly addicted to making sawdust. I shared an apartment with a friend and set up shop in my bedroom. I had such understanding neighbors and a great room mate. I started finding new tools and ever so slowly acquired new skills. I was very self conscious of my work at first, as I should have been. The first pieces were very crude and very hard to sell. I had no sales skills or real carving skills. I remember laying on my bed one day in that apartment bedroom taking a break. I felt sort of lost at the time and then thought how if I had put myself through college, something that I didn't enjoy at all, I should be able to make a living at wood carving. I just needed to stick with it and carve for my life. I could see that I was learning. I moved around a lot in those first years of carving and met some great people. The people I met led to some great adventures.

I did a trip to Hong Kong, India, Bankok... with a friend I met at a Christmas craft show. Now that was an adventure to talk about at a whole nother time. I spent 8 months carving near Capetown, South Africa with some South African friends I had met at a craft show in California. And I carved and carved and learned so many things in those years.

Then in 1983 I moved to June Lake, California. It is a small village on the east side of the Sierras in California. It had a charming community of 600 people that I fell in love with immediately. I had a son, Cody, with Sallee there and we opened the Tree Wizard Gallery that we ran for 16 years. Sallee and I were together for 17 years and we had some good and some hard times. In the end we needed to part ways. All that time I was very involved with the community joining many of the organizations. I was on the board for the Chamber of Commerce, in the Lions Club, President of two different Arts and Crafts Guilds, and 11 and a half years on the June Lake Fire Dept. that I left being the assistant Fire Chief which I loved dearly. Living at 7700 foot elevation was an amazing experience and made for many challenges and many close relationships. That was a very rewarding time in my life.

My son Cody graduated high school in 2003 and the two of us moved to Cave Junction, Oregon were Cody went to Rogue Community College and got his AA Degree and I went to work at a friends Burl Gallery and wood sales business in Kerby, Oregon. Harvey and Joy Shinerock had been dear friends of mine since 1979. I had come to visit them to get my carving wood and bring carvings to their gallery from the time they moved there in 1988. I new the area well and new the business well and I had a lot of fun, helping run the business and add my touch to their amazing place called "It's a Burl". You can find them online at But in the end I was more interested in carving and less interested in running the busy business theirs had turned into .

I met Susan Russell in 2008 on and we struck up a wonderful relationship. Susan owned a charming little home in Grants Pass, Oregon on 2 1/2 acres. She is the production manager of the oldest live theatre in the state of Oregon were she directs plays, builds sets, and holds things together with her shear will. She is always busy building and doing wonderful projects for the theatre and around our property. We share interest in growing our own food and living a life in the country.

So this is were I am right now. I carve 5 days a week and we work our property, put up food for the winter, and share ours lives with some wonderful people in this amazing community of Grants Pass. It just couldn't get better than this for me. And I sell most of my carvings online now so I can be home most of the time. I am loving it.

My online shop is on the site. It is the world's largest arts and crafts and vintage selling venue. My shop is It has been very exciting for me to build my sales business on this site. I have met some amazing people. Etsy is a world wide community of artists and craft people. I am a member of "wood carvers of etsy" that is the world's largest collection of wood carvers from around the world. You can google wood carvers of etsy to check them out.

Welp, that is all for now. My blog will evolve as time goes on I am sure.
I will be writing about my life in the country with Susan and about things I have learned and am learning about carving and life in general. Do come see my work in my etsy shop. And you can contact me at any time on my etsy shop by clicking contact or emailing me at

I welcome anyone to become a member of my blog and share my joy of being alive on this planet we call Earth, flying through space together.

All the best for now
Talk to you soon


AKA: Gary Burns
The Tree Wizard