Thompson starts with the branch on the left. The finished piece is on the right.

This tree is Black Ash with a teal blue fungal stain, a rare phenomenon Thompson has found only a handful of times in 47,000 trees.

Love Your Local Artist mainstay John Thompson is known as “the tree guy,” creating distinctive trees using a bandsaw. After cutting the design, he sands them and applies three to four coats of clear varnish. To him, it’s all about the beauty of the wood, and even after 15 years and 47,000 trees, the novelty hasn’t worn off. “I still get excited and run in the house to show my wife a particularly nice tree,” he says.

He enjoys participating in the library’s Love Your Local Artist event, especially the chance to interact with people from our area. “Our libraries are a stable part of the community, open and welcoming to all, making it possible for emerging artists to get their work out to the public without a great deal of expense or hassle.” His work can be found in shops and galleries around the country, including gift shops at national parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, Muir Woods, Mount Rushmore, Acadia, and more. Locally, his work can be purchased at The Art Dock in Duluth, Eckels Pottery in Bayfield, and 47 Degrees in Knife River.