My friend Wendy is always involved in more community activities than I can shake a stick at. She's currently leading a fundraising campaign to add an additional artwork to the Whatcom Creek Salmon Art Trail in Bellingham. The new work will be a horizontal Coast Salish cedar story pole sculpture by Felix Solomon, a Lummi tribal member.
Wendy called me a couple of days ago and asked if I would go with her to Felix's studio to take some photos for a brochure. I've always been interested in woodworking and carving, so I didn't need to be persuaded.
When we arrived at Felix's place today and got out of the car, the smell of cedar was intoxicating. Felix was instructing a couple of young men helping him carve a canoe in a lean-to shelter outside the studio. They were using drawknives, cutting very thin shavings. The surface of the cut wood was as smooth as glass. When I commented on this to Felix, he told me that he never uses sandpaper on any of his carvings, even the smallest ones. It requires many custom-made tools kept razor-sharp.
Felix was a very gracious host. He answered all my questions about carving and let me wander around his studio, taking pictures of his tools and artwork.
I took the photos of cedar lumber that Wendy needed for her brochure and lots of others that interested me, including an informal portrait of Felix. I wished we could have stayed longer, but Felix said I could visit again. I look forward to doing that.
Go here to learn about the Salmon Art Trail:
Read about Felix and see some of his work here: