Northwest Coast Woodcarving 1: Exploring Traditions
Northwest Coast Woodcarving is one way in which a noble family shares their rights, crests and privileges that have been handed down through t heir family since the beginning of time. These crests which manifest themselves as animals, supernatural beings and ancestors are most commonly shared through their story, song, mask and dance during a potlatch.
Although many First Nations people along the Northwest Coast have a carving tradition, the styles and variations vary throughout the region. In this class Tsungani will be discussing both the history, and techniques used in woodcarving. He will demonstrate the tools used in the creation of ceremonial masks, including the D-adz, elbow adz, crooked knives, straight knives and slant blades.
Spend the day learning about the techniques used in creating ceremonial masks, rattles, totem poles, bowls and complex masks. This class will endow you with a solid theoretical understanding of Northwest Coast woodcarving, and is intended for all levels of skill from woodcarver to curious observer. This is an ideal opportunity to expand your knowledge of this traditional art form. A behind the scenes look at pieces from the Lelooska Foundation Permanent Collection will be shared to increase your understanding. You are welcome to bring a piece of your own for critique.
Tsungani, meaning “he who excels” also holds the Kwakwaka’wakw name, Qa7axtal’es, which translates to “He who arises early and invites the people into the house to eat”. Tsungani as the main dancer in the Living History Programs, was an expert at handling the large, articulated masks—a skill much respected by the Old People. At traditional potlatches, he was often called upon to perform with the masks for multiple chiefs. When his brother Lelooska passed away in 1996, Tsungani became Clan Chief of the House of Lelooska and the House of Sewide. The name Gixken meaning “Chief of Chiefs” was also passed to him.
As Clan Chief, Tsungani devotes his time to educational work as the storyteller in the Living History Programs and as an active Northwest Coast Woodcarver. He continues to work in the traditional styles creating masks, totem poles, bowls and rattles. His work can be seen throughout the country, but his greatest honors are the pieces that he has been able to create for several hereditary chiefs.
10am-3pm. $45. Please bring a lunch.