Speeding along

Carvers of the United Pole (l-r): StllnG_a (Tyler York), Laada (Tim Boyko), St’inll (Garner Moody, head carver) and Kwakyans (Tony Greene).

By Graham —

Work on United Pole at Gya K’id Naay Carving House at Kay Llnagaay is progressing faster than anticipated. “We should be finished in two and a half months,” speculated apprentice carver StllnGa Tyler York as he carefully evens out the cheek on one of the gyaagang’s monumental pole’s central figures.

Under the direction of head carver St’inll Garner Moody, he and his team of carvers StllnGa, Laada Tim Boyko, and Kwakyans Tony Greene have shaped out most of the figures since the gyaag_ang arrived as a 54-foot ts’uu Red cedar log this past Sgaahlan K‘al Kung June. Two months ago, the team finished the back and rolled the gyaagang over – which is being carved in the round – to begin work on the front. Since then faces have begun to surface from beneath the carvers’ hands.

Just as the gyaagang takes shape, the carving is also shaping a new generation of young artists. StllnGa has apprenticed with a number of masters over the years and incorporates his new techniques within his evolving repertoire. His advancing skills have earned him new responsibilities as United Pole progresses.

“The last pole I worked on, I was mostly just working on shape,” StllnGa explained, pointing out some of the United Poles less complex features. “This time I’m doing the belly, the wing shape, the beak, the nostril, and the eye socket, whereas before I was never allowed to do stuff like that.”

According to Rose Williams, gyaag_ang have marked the landscape of Haida Gwaii ever since An-o-wat and his son Sta-th raised the first one in Yan in times past. At that time the father and son duo shared the work and since then, a master and an apprentice have carved each gyaagang together. The master usually carves one side and the apprentice copies his work exactly on the other. That’s how the knowledge of carving has passed through the generations to StllnGa today.Work on United Pole at Gya K’id Naay Carving House at Kay Llnagaay is progressing faster than anticipated. “We should be finished in two and a half months,” speculated apprentice carver StllnGa Tyler York as he carefully evens out the cheek on one of the gyaagang’s monumental pole’s central figures.

1 Comment

  1. Awesome work, I am so proud of my brother, he is an amazing artist and the pole is beautiful. I had the privilege of visiting Haida Gwaii last month and watching my brother work his magic.

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