Joe Martin smiles alongside his daughter

Musings from a master carver

“It’s quite a process. It’s not just going into the forest and picking a tree.”

  • Nov. 14, 2016 4:00 p.m.

NORA O’MALLEY

nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

From his cedar smelling workshop up on Monks Point, master canoe carver Joe Martin leads the Westerly News into a conversation about trees.

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation described how to fall old trees, how to move a big, heavy log and how to make the most out of windfalls.

“My grandfather and my dad told me time and time again that you’re not suppose to cut anything within 100-metres of an eagles nest or a bear den or a wolf den because we have been taught to be respectful. You’re suppose to respect all life,” he said.

“It’s quite a process. It’s not just going into the forest and picking a tree.”

Martin’s dad, Robert Martin Senior, taught him everything he knows about making a traditional dugout canoe.

“In the former days it was just stone, bone and fire. And time. People had time. We didn’t look at time the way we do today. You get paid this much an hour or you work between this time and that time,” said Martin.

He explained that in the old days, canoes would be singed black and polished with shavings.

He said they used their hands to measure length and a rock and string tool was used for levelling.

“I remember the first canoe I ever made, my dad was really proud. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, Now son you don’t have to depend on anyone for anything.”

Martin has since lost count on the number of canoes he’s made over the years. Mostly, he carves them for youngsters in his family as he views it as a responsibility to pass the knowledge on.

His daughter, Tsimka Martin, also uses his canoes to take visitors on guided tours of Clayoquot Sound.

It took him about four months to make that first canoe as a young apprentice, and now, with the help of a couple workers, the master carver said can produce a 36-foot canoe in about four weeks.

“It takes the time it takes,” Martin said with a grin.

And when asked what he loves most about his hand-carved canoes?

“Seeing them first hit the water.”

Joe Martin has been nominated by the Pacific Rim Arts Society for the 2016 Rainy Award, which will be presented at their Annual General Meeting on Nov. 6.

The Rainy Award was established to recognize a local accomplished artist who exhibits a strong commitment to community and shows a willingness to participate, to share, and to teach.

 

Just Posted

Tofino’s Clayoquot Oyster Festival scaled back for 2017

Organizers optimistic about years to come

Pacific Rim Whale Festival in dire need of volunteers around Tofino and Ucluelet

Society’s treasurer Marilyn McEwen fears 2018 could be event’s final year.

Ambassadors educate travellers in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Team tackled off-leash dogs, left-out attractants and shoreline safety.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Drones take off to search for missing North Okanagan women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

Most Read