From her world to wood

Local artist Diana Tillberg shares her love of North Idaho through her business On The Wall Signs

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Growing up on a farm in the Selle Valley as one of nine children, Diana Tillberg said her mother found ways for the family to be creative.

“My mom was always really creative, so I think it’s in my genes,” she said.

Top: Diana Tillberg and one of her Baltic birch Bigfoot creations. Bottom left: Some of Tillberg’s sign creations. Courtesy photos.

The creations of Tillberg’s contemporary life are shown and sold under her business name: On The Wall Signs, Gifts and Vinyl. She made her first sign around 2004 and hung it in her home. An artist friend noticed it, and asked why she didn’t sell her work.

“She said, ‘If you don’t start doing them, I’m going to take your idea,’” Tillberg recalled with a laugh. “She makes her living doing art, so I thought, ‘OK, I’ll trust her.’”

Tillberg’s work has taken many forms over the past 15 years. From elaborate signs displaying the area’s lakes; to brightly painted signs with funny sayings; to earrings, dish towels and vinyl stickers, her booth at the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market is full of personality and local flair.

Tillberg’s tools of choice have grown over the years — both in quantity and size. Her shop is home to saws, routers and a 350-pound industrial laser. She said that about 90% of her art pieces are made from either upcycled or recycled materials.

“I’m always looking for vintage windows or barnwood or rusty metal,” she said.

When it comes to seeking inspiration, Tillberg said she steers clear of websites like Pinterest.

“It puts too many things in my head,” she said, “and I already have enough ideas.”

Many of those ideas, Tillberg said, come from time spent outdoors. She said she draws a lot of inspiration from Lake Pend Oreille because “it’s just awesome all on its own,” and has been known to translate her observations in nature directly into wood.

That’s what happened with Tillberg’s popular tree signs, which consist of layers of different colored wooden trees to create a textured forest landscape. She said she came up with the idea while driving home from Kootenai Falls on the Bull River Highway in Montana.

“It was dusk coming back, and I looked at the mountains with all of the trees, and I just saw it cut out in wood, in different shades and different layers,” she said. “So I went home and started putting that together.”

See Diana Tillberg’s work on Facebook at her On The Wall Signs Gifts and Vinyl page. Find select works for sale at Oak Street Mercantile, Misty Mountain Furniture and Home Sweet Home Consignment. Also catch Tillberg at the Saturday Farmers’ Market, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. For custom orders, email her at [email protected]

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