Wild Wolves Design began in 2013 when I, Erika, was determined to explore a new art medium and try my hand at pyrography (wood burning). After multiple unsuccessful attempts with an old soldering iron, my dad surprised me with a pyrography pen and encouraged me to try again. Better equipped, I was able to achieve the results I was hoping for. Shortly after, the demand for different pieces resulted in the collaboration with my younger sister, Laryssa, and then later, my older brother, Brock. Laryssa’s eye for design and love for jewellery and textiles offered a fresh perspective and expansion of our work. Brock’s attention to detail and passion for woodworking enabled us to make custom and unique handmade items.
Growing up in a creative family, we all have a fond appreciation for art and, more specifically, woodworking. Our dad has always enjoyed woodworking as a hobby. As West Fernie Wood Works, he builds custom wood pieces, specializing in beautifully handcrafted barnwood picture frames. His father, our “Papa” Verne, has also been influential to us. Whether he is painting local historical buildings around Fernie or crafting detailed wooden birdhouses, his creativity and craftsmanship is inspiring.
Throughout the initial years, I was attending university and our time to create together was limited to my short visits home from the east coast. However, it was during this time that I was exposed to laser cutting and the opportunities that this technology could offer. Upon completion of my Master of Architecture last spring, I packed up my car with an array of laser cut designs and when I arrived back in Fernie, we went straight to work. The three of us spent the summer collaborating and attending the markets within the valley. Feedback via the markets and through social media was encouraging and resulted in requests for a variety of custom pieces. As the summer ended, the purchase of a laser cutter was pivotal to the development of our work. It allowed us to continue to meet these demands, push the capabilities of wood as a material, and grow as artists. To date we have made custom laser engraved and hand burned picture frames, shelves, decorative boxes, urns, coasters, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, key chains, cake toppers, wine racks, photo ornaments, crib boards, artwork, signs, photo albums and souvenirs.
As fifth-generation Fernie-ites, we grew up with a love for nature, and inspiration from this town is abundant. The natural elements that surround us, the simple lifestyle that mountain living has to offer and the mountains’ underlying, basic geometric shapes are all aspects that influence our designs. It is this simplicity that drives our creations. As a result, we strive to create minimalist and unique pieces that combine art and function. Since wood is naturally a beautiful material, we aim to work with the material rather than against it to maintain its organic appeal.
In addition to being inspired by our surroundings, we are also inspired by the people and talent that make up Fernie. While Wild Wolves is very much a collaborative effort between the three of us, it extends beyond us and is successful because of the support from family, friends and the greater community.
In the future, we are hoping to incorporate a variety of natural materials into our palette to push and further explore the relationship between art, nature and technology. Additionally, we are looking forward to working with other talents and businesses in the community to collaborate and expand on unconventional uses of wood.