Story Poles

Story poles are really 4 sided paintings that you touch and turn. They are intended to be interior art. Click on the image to enlarge. Approximately 7″x7″ wide by 7′ tall rotating on a steel base with an aluminum cover. Acrylic and oil paint. Legacy Basswood.

I have a great reverence for our own First Nations People, for how they tell stories, from person to person and through art, including the carving and the erecting of story poles. My story poles turn easily on a metal base and they are carved, with words and design burned into the Basswood and painted with acrylic and/or encaustic paint.

The Basswood has been resting for 45 years in the barn of the man who harvested the wood from his own forest. The wood has live edges, it is straight and fine and part of an important legacy of sustainability and sharing. I began with the wood, running my palm across the surface, looking into the wood for the markings, the lines, the story of the tree. Basswood has very little grain – but there are markings and those markings informed what would be written and drawn on the wood.

Working with the wood was and is a pleasure. I was showing the Story Poles at the Papermill Gallery in Toronto and they needed to be ready. Near the deadline, I needed help burning the drawings into the wood and I needed help engineering how the Totems would stand and turn. I have wonderful friends who are with me in this life of producing art.

The drawings and verse are burned into the wood by hand and using a laser. The Story Poles stand ready to share, initiate conversation, observation, to be completely interactive, tactile, and physically arresting.