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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino’s Crystal Cove crowned top family destination for second year in a row

TripAdvisor has announced the recipients of its Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best awards.

COVID-19: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation asks Tofino businesses for support as emergency funding runs dry

“We need to pay for the work they do. It’s such important work.”

DFO says the five aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Canada can lead the way to save sharks from extinction, says fisheries expert

“Combined with fishing extraction numbers, sharks experience huge losses in the environment.”

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read