Sooke sculptor Charlie Wainman crouches beside some of his garden gnome creations.

Sooke sculptor Charlie Wainman crouches beside some of his garden gnome creations.

Sculptor inspired by Sooke

After spending six years in Montreal honing his skills, Sooke sculptor Charlie Wainman came home to live his dreams of making art for a living.

  • Jul. 13, 2011 3:00 p.m.

After spending six years in Montreal honing his skills, Sooke sculptor Charlie Wainman came home to live his dreams of making art for a living.

“(Art) was pretty much my one really good talent,” says Wainman, who dropped out of Edward Milne Community School  in Grade 10.

Working as a cement finisher and then a tree planter for many years, the youthful-looking 39-year-old has struggled with arthritis since he was 25. He reached a point where he had to make a choice about an alternate career.

“I planted a million trees,” he says. “That’s what messed up my body.”

In 2000, Wainman decided to try his hand at sculpting.

“I started with decorating raves using large papier-mache sculptures like mushrooms and that.”

In 2002 he felt like he needed to be in a bigger market to fine tune his craft and moved to Montreal, where he got his first big break. He got a chance to work on a film and learned clay sculpting on the job.

“They wanted a little figurine with a dragon bursting out of a woman’s chest so I did that out of clay. I didn’t know anything, I never sculpted (clay) before in my life, said Wainman.

“They liked it and it was in the movie, and that’s when I first fell in love with three dimensional sculpture.”

After that, Wainman got a job with a restaurant chain in Montreal called Le Monde where he earned a contract to create sculptures of gargantuan proportions.

“I spent basically two months sculpting these eight-foot tall styrofoam dancers to put up on this almost gymnasium style wall. They actually looked small up there, that’s how big it was.”

He began to earn a reputation for himself, and eventually was able to return to Sooke and make a go at his own lawn and garden sculpture business. He has spent the last two months working at producing prototypes to market to local stores, and he just worked out a deal with Capital Iron in Victoria to carry his creations.

Born in Toronto, Wainman has lived in Sooke for most of his life and calls it a “magical place” where he draws much of his inspiration. He said his professional goal as an artist is to be commissioned by the district to make a bronze statue for the town square.

You can find his products every Saturday at the Sooke Country Market on Otter Point Road, and  on his website at www.charleswainman.artworkfolio.com. He will also be at the Sooke Christmas craft fair selling tree ornaments during the holidays.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read