It’s a skill and an art that is a lifelong calling on Canada’s west coast.  In Tofino, there are some special places where you can meet wood carvers at work.

The Carving Shed on North Chesterman Beach
You won’t soon forget your first visit to the Carving Shed.  Tucked into a spot where the forest meets the beach by the Wickaninnish Inn, the shed’s rustic appearance belies the craftsmanship of the carvers who work there.  Look for the “open” sign on the front door, or for that door to be open, and wander in.  You may meet some friendly dogs, companions to “Feather” George Yearsley, known for his delicately carved eagle feathers and empowering conversations, or Christen Dokk Smith, who combines First Nations and Viking carving methods of his native Norway.

Carving On the Edge Festival
Every September, art lovers and a host of wood carvers from Tofino, Clayoquot Sound and beyond gather for the Carving On the Edge Festival.  This September 6 to 11, meet artists at work as they carve in an open space.  Attend a workshop or talk, and admire the art exhibit with carvings that will take your breath away.  The 2018 theme is “Totems and Tributaries”, looking at carving as a visual language.  On September 7, a Čiinuł (Totem Pole) will be raised, honouring the Ha’wiih (Tla-o-qui-aht Hereditary Chiefs) and their spiritual and physical stewardship of the hahoułee (traditional territory.) It has been a dream of acclaimed Tla-o-qui-aht master carver, Joe David to see this totem carved and raised in the township of Tofino so that everyone who stands before it understands the title of the Ha’wiih.