Longtime LYLA participant John Thompson’s artwork is instantly recognizable. He creates decorative trees ranging in size from three inches to thirty-two inches, each cut from a single piece of wood using a bandsaw before being sanded and varnished with four coats of polyurethane. Each one of his pieces is completely unique in pattern, wood grain, and color.
A prolific and productive artist, Thompson has been doing woodwork since he was a seventh grader, and during the past fifteen years, John has made more than 50,000 trees. In 2021, he made 3001 trees alone. And although he’s been creating these trees for more than sixty years, he still gets excited when an especially good one turns out and runs into the house to show his wife.
When he’s not creating, he enjoys fishing, reading, and road trips, often pulling their travel trailer to camp near the water while traveling.
His trees are available for purchase from coast to coast, including shops in Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, and Ohio, as well as at gift shops at national parks including Yellowstone, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Mount Rushmore, Muir Woods, and Acadia. Locally, you can purchase his trees at Art Dock in Duluth’s Canal Park, Eckel’s Pottery in Bayfield, and 47 Degrees in Knife River (open seasonally).