For thousands of years the monumental trees of the coastal temperate rainforests in Clayoquot Sound have inspired a rich and diverse carving culture – from the practical purposes of the dug-out canoe to the ceremonial roles of headdresses and the record-keeping of great totem poles. Coastal carving has made unique contributions to fine art and archival collections around the world.
The annual Carving on the Edge Festival celebrates the traditional and contemporary west coast carving arts, the carving artists, and the rich cultural history of our region. The festival offers opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the coastal traditions of carving with the goals of encouraging the growth of the carving community and of building much-needed cultural bridges.
Carving on the Edge Festival was born in 2010 on a stormy weekend at Tofino’s Tin Wis carving shed. A group of Nuu-chah-nulth carvers, elders and culture-makers met for three days to talk about the traditions and cultural teachings of west coast carving. They gathered ideas on how to share and teach their skills with others – carvers, communities, and youth – with the purpose of growing the carving community while sharing traditional teachings and stories. The group became the ‘Keepers of the Festival’.
Each year we gather in Clayoquot Sound to host the festival. Master carvers lead the festival’s themes with input from the rest of the festival’s community. Programming includes a wide range of workshops, exhibitions, artist talks, guided tours, installations and performances geared towards everyone from the curious public to experienced wood carvers.
CARVING ON THE EDGE FESTIVAL
To inspire the growth of the traditional and contemporary west coast carving arts through celebration, education and relationship-building.
Our aim is to:
- Create opportunities for cultural and artistic communications and exchanges amongst the world’s carving communities and public;
- Present educational seminars and workshops that teach history and artistic accomplishments of traditional and contemporary west coast carving, endeavouring to raise the standards of cultural achievement;
- Enhance appreciation of the importance and stature of traditional carving arts of First Nations and aboriginal peoples by showcasing their rich cultural heritage;
- Deliver public presentations by historians and carvers on contemporary and historic carving arts that focus on carving traditions that form the foundation of contemporary explorations,
- Create opportunities for storytelling;
- Produce an art show that features applications of contemporary carvings;
- Acknowledge the importance & stature of BC’s traditional coastal arts in the world cultural community.