Fabulous Finds: Leigh Mulroy

oook presents:

Profile 2 of 4 of  Fabulous Finds Artisan Vendors

 #2: Leigh Mulroy

Leigh Mulroy, like many others, has returned home to the Okanagan, well in this case Salmon Arm, after a number of years gallivanting in the Vancouver environs, pursuing work in restaurant management. Coming home, Leigh found himself gravitating to the wood shop and tools he inherited from his father and brother. Spurred on by a huge distaste for waste, he began fashioning small items out of the broken skateboards being turned into the skateboard shop he works in part time in Salmon Arm.  He cringed when he learned that the broken skateboards were not recyclable and are in fact termed to be “industrial waste” because of all the nasty glues and laminates used to construct them. They’re so bad, that they can’t even be used for fire wood! Well, not without a great hazard to your health.
So, what started off as a project to do something with waste quickly went from Christmas presents for family and friends (everyone got wooden spoons that year) to a small skateboard-inspired artisan business. Today, Leigh makes everything from hair picks and belt buckles to money clips and cutting boards. He’s even begun making axe handles; what else is one to do when yours breaks? You fashion a new one with your woodsy know how! Mostly self taught – there are a lot of calls to his brother for wood shop advice and troubleshooting – Leigh approaches his work like any artist would. He’s in it for the surprises and the adventure, always thinking of what else he could make.
So come and see what Leigh has cooked up for this year’s Spring session of Fabulous Finds (you know that it happens twice a year, right?) on March 30th and 31st.


Here’s what Leigh has to say about Fabulous Finds when I recently caught up with him:

oook: What do you think about Fabulous Finds?

LM: Fab Finds is a great way for like minded people to get together, showcase talents, make connections, and enjoy a fun event at an exceptional location.  I appreciate the effort that goes into putting on an artisan show of Fab Finds caliber, and want to create items that are a quality that meets or raises the bar set by all the creative individuals attending.

oook: What impact do you think Fabulous Finds has on the crafters and artisans in the area?

LM: Exposure, Exposure, Exposure.  If not for Fab Finds I would not have the following and support that I have today.  Thanks to Rio Branner at Curio Designs for inviting me to Fabulous Finds. I always look forward to it and enjoy every show I attend.
oook: How has it impacted you own work and business?

LM: I have met some great,  supportive people and now have sales in a broader area.  Having been voted Vendors Choice once (March 2011) , and Runner-Up (November 2011) once by my peers encourages and inspires me to create more new and unique pieces.
oook: Do you think it is easy or harder to concentrate on your art practice as a business in the Okanagan?


LM: I think being in the Okanagan it is easier for me to do my thing.  I have lived in Vancouver and to have the materials and a facility to do what I do is not really affordable there.  I feel that in a smaller market area people are more supportive, there is a sense of community, people know my name.  Being known as “the belt buckle guy” or “the spoon man” is quite alright too.

oook: How else and where else do you sell your work?

LM: Most of my sales come from Fabulous Finds, or local Farm Markets in Salmon Arm and at the Caravan Theatre in Armstrong.  I have done Creative Chaos in the past, which is also great exposure, but it really is chaos and I much prefer the atmosphere at Summerhill winery.  My wares can be found (usually)  at: Frock in Kelowna, Pinz Boardshop in Salmon Arm, Sicamouse, and Revelstoke.  Also Red Star Emporium in Ladysmith BC. Oh yeah, and the guys at The Bakery skate shop in Rutland have some goodies there too.  As most of my pieces are not overly large they are easy peasy to put in the mail, and everything can be viewed on my Facebook page “Apples and Oranges

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