By Krista DeRosario
A fine art that originated in the Germanic Orr Mountains can
now be found right here in Algoma's backyard, thanks to Dieter
Heller of Three Oak Resort.
Back in 1782 this art form - known in German as "schwibbogen"
- was discovered. People travel from all over the world to the
Orr Mountains to sec this finely crafted wooden art.
And soon people will be travelling to look at Mr. Heller's
work as he perfects this ancient craft that is ideally suited
to be displayed on windowsills.
Upon moving to Canada two years ago, Mr. Heller realized that
most Canadian houses do not have windowsills so he is designing
window pictures which will hang in windows.
He creates many othertypes of crafts, such as dream catchers,
Christmas omaments, and child lights.
One unique form of art is the pyramid. lt consists of four
candles perched on a beautifully carved scene, which when lit,
causes the carved figures to revolve.
Woodworking started out as a hobby for Mr. Heller back in 1994.
His first piece, which
one yard in height and took three months to create, is one
of his favourites, as he made it for bis wife whose cultural
roots are in Germany.
Another one of Mr. Heller's favourites is a "Heller original,"
having designed the entire piece himself.
"Although," he explained, "every piece is original
because it's made by hand. Even if I make two of them, certain
parts are different."
Now retired, Mr. Heller devotes quite a bit of his time to
perfecting his craft. Spending up to forty hours a week during
the resort's offseason and between ten and fifteen hours during
the summertime, it's obviously more a passion than a passtime.
That may seem like a lot of time, but the amount of tedious
work that is put into making one piece is overwelming.
Each hand-painted piece is firstdrilled with tiny holes and
then cut with a hand-held coping saw.
Mr. Heller likes to illustrate a natural look on his work.
One' decoration, including the image of a bird, is about the
size of a fist, but took four hours to meticulously paint with
a toothpick to depict the feathers on the bird as realistically
With this type of dedication and talent it comes as no surprise
that Mr. Heller assures he will continue with his Craft as long
as I can do it!"
Mr. Heller's artwork is on sale at his store at Gordon Lake
and he will also be featured in this September's artisans circle
tour in the Sylvan Valley area.