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.

Just Posted

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Scheduling popular summer events like the Canada Day celebrations is difficult due to the pandemic. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke summer events schedule clouded by COVID

Public health guidelines hamper plans

The District of Sooke is looking at new plans to build a fenced dog park at Ponds Park Corridor. (Pixabay.com)
Sooke seeks input on dog park

Public comment welcomed until June 4

Sooke RCMP are asking for the public’s help in finding Jeremy Tinnion after he was last seen in leaving a Sooke shelter on May 13. (Photo courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
MISSING: Jeremy Tinnion last seen in Sooke on May 13

The 31-year-old was last seen by staff members as he was leaving an Otter Point Road shelter

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read