About "The Gift"   |   Photos    |   NativeArtists.org

Project Leader: Philip H. Red Eagle
Lead Carver: David A. Wilson

Carvers:
Curt Hebron
Patty Stennett
Allen Frazier
Dulcy Frazier
Merrie Gough
Mike Evans (The Blue Heron)
Bridget Ray

And many helpers

Special thanks to the Working Waterfront Maritime Museum, staff and volunteers.

From The News Tribune:
Carvers work to free cedar log's inner canoe

The story behind the log:

In August, shortly after returning from Tribal Journeys, I was driving behind the Tacoma Art Museum and I looked to my left to see a forty-foot log sitting at the back of the TAM parking lot. It was untouched. In the same instant I “saw” a Salish style Hunter canoe in that log. My mind said, “Beautiful Log. Beautiful canoe.” I was envious.

A week, or so, later I heard the story of that log from a friend. It seems that the two carvers, Shaun Peterson and Craig Colfax, for “Carving a Legacy”, an exhibit at TAM, had, a few weeks earlier, gone down to Elma to select a log which was to be carved into a Salish Welcoming Figure for TAM. They went to great effort to find the proper log. Soon after the selection was made, and after they had departed, an Italian guitar maker came to the very same yard and bought the log out from under the museum. The yard owners then substituted a similar log and sent that to the museum. Of course, the two carvers recognized that this was not their log. They did, however, evaluate it and wrote comments on the butt end of the log and down the length of the log. They rejected this log, as it was inadequate for making a Welcome Figure. The new log now had no purpose. A week later, I drive by.

On the following Monday after hearing the story, I called the head curator of TAM and asked for the log. I was bold and very direct. I told them that I had a crew of carvers that could turn that log into a beautiful Salish style Hunter canoe. For our part, we would carve the canoe and then deliver it to the museum in May, or so, for a month long exhibit in the TAM foyer. We will name the canoe “Gift from our Ancestor”; In Salish, of course.

"The Gift" will be carved at the Working Waterfront Museum on the Tacoma waterfront and open to the public as a working exhibit. All are invited to learn how to carve on this canoe; under tough scrutiny, of course. The 500 year old log is now happily nested among various northwest watercraft. Lots of good company!

Philip

P.S. There a lot of photos, take your time and enjoy viewing the process!