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Artist Forum and Lunch – Thursday, September 6th, 2018

September 6, 2018 @ 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Artist Forum and Lunch

Participating artists are invited to the Artist Forum and Lunch before the festival is opened to the public. The Tips and Tricks Session will introduce our guest artists to the group with an opportunity to learn more about their individual approaches to carving. The Festival Overview Session provides detailed information on the ways artists can make the most out of this year’s festival.

10am – Artist Registration – coffee served

11am – Artist Welcome with Hjalmer Wenstob  

11:15am – Tips and Tricks Session – with Phil Gray, Kelli Clifton, and Dave Parsanishi

12noon – Lunch will be provided

1pm – Festival Overview detailed information for participating artists

2pm – Panel Discussion: Art for Activating Social Change

(coffee break)

3:30pm – Robinson Cook will present Hiłḥiy̓iis – a carving created in response to the Hišinqʷiił Regional Gathering  

*Let us know that you are coming! Pre-registration appreciated for this FREE event. Register here.



Hjalmer Wenstob (Tlehpik): “Just like my names, my background gives me so much strength, to know where I am from and where I belong, no matter where I go. On my mum’s side I am English and Norwegian,  and on my dad’s side I am from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. I get strength from all of who I am, and where I come from, raised on Tzartus Island, in Barkley Sound, I know I belong, a place that calls my name silently, but unbegrudgingly, it holds my memories and childhood, to give me strength no matter where I live.” Hjalmer finished his Master of Fine Arts in sculpture, at the University of Victoria and now runs Cedar House Gallery in Ucluelet BC.

Phil Gray: is from the Ts’msyen and Cree First Nations of Lax Kw’Alaams, BC and Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. Phil began learning about Northwest Coast design in 1998 from various artists, by reading many books, visiting museums, attending cultural events, and talking with Elders.  Phil has been influenced by many artists including Gerry Sheena who taught him carving skills and he learned Ts’msyen design from David A. Boxley. Phil is committed to helping to revitalize and make known the artwork of Ts’msyen people. He is most proud of the work that records the stories and history of the Ts’msyen people and his art that adorns traditional regalia, organizational logos, and other community centered work that allows him to give back and stay connected to the community. He enjoys public art projects as they provide the greatest opportunity for the public to view Ts’msyen art as a way to remind people that the Ts’msyen Nation is here to stay. Phil’s work can be found in private collections around the world and in various books, galleries and museums.   

Kelli Clifton: was born and raised in Prince Rupert, BC. Her mother is of European ancestry and her father   is Gitga’ata from the community of Hartley Bay. A graduate from the University of Victoria (Bachelor of Fine  Arts), Clifton later worked as an Aboriginal Youth Intern for both the British Columbia Arts Council and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. Clifton returned north to attend the Fredia Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art (Terrace, BC) where she learned to carve wood and to further develop her design skills. While in school, Clifton received several awards including the YVR Art Youth Scholarship Award for both years she attended Freda Diesing. Since graduating, Kelli’s career as an artist has continued to thrive, having successfully received grants from First Peoples’ Cultural Council, the British Columbia Arts Council as well  as the Canada Council for the Arts. Clifton has always been interested in using her artwork as a form of storytelling, especially in relation to her coastal upbringing and her experiences as a First Nations woman. She now lives in her home community of Prince Rupert where she works for the local school district teaching art and cultural practices to children of all ages.

Dave Parsanishi: I started exploring sculpture with gargoyle-like images and then as my skills increased, I began exploring Japanese and Chinese precision, form and fluidity. This lead me to my first serious idea about art: Netsukes on a Canadian Scale. Netsukes are Japanese miniature carvings, often carved in ivory. I tried to apply the Netsuke cleanliness of lines and condensation of intricate images while at the same time using the larger linear material of Canadian milled timber. This is symbolic of the vastness of Canada and our repeat of resource extraction to the point of extirpation that has been the hallmark of colonialism. As this evolved for me, my conceptions of human experience broadened. Through my work with people with disabilities I awoke to the plastic nature of the human body and mind and its desire to strive and adapt. Meaning changed for me and I became more interested in the idea that not all things are beautiful but there is beauty in all things. I am creating images and idols that could populate the churches and dashboards of our minds. At present, I call my work, “Western Temple Gods and Dashboard Saints.”


September 6, 2018
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Carving Festival


The Shore
368 Main Street
Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0 Canada
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