Sandy is a retired Royal Canadian Naval pilot who moved to the Murray River area in 1995. During his early naval training he became fascinated by the decorative rope work done by the sailors as a hobby and he quickly learned the basic skills involved with weaving the rope ends to make various decorative rope items.
This interest was rekindled when his grandson expressed a desire to find a source of income over the summer months. Recalling the sailor’s rope work, Sandy suggested making and selling decorative rope mats which could be used as decorative artwork or, more functionally, as table mats or trivets for hot dishes. He then taught his grandson a basic Celtic knot design and experimented with a number of types of rope to achieve a quality product.
Sandy’s wife Terry is a member of a local craft group and when the members saw the rope mats they encouraged him to place them in the Artisan's Gallery. Sandy then expanded the basic design to produce the larger and more intricate Ocean Plait mat, and in 2013 he began weaving the mats for sale. The following year he began producing framed mats of various sizes. The mats on display are made with braided nylon/polypropylene rope and are good for handling hot items up to 380 degrees F.
In the winter of 2012, Sandy took an introductory course in soapstone carving and soon discovered the joy of bringing wolves, bears and other animals to life in the medium of the stone. He began experimenting with more of his own designs to produce a higher quality product, and the following year he began selling his various carvings in the gallery. He uses soapstone from a quarry in Quebec, although a few are carved from Brazilian stone obtained from a dealer in Ontario.