Tucked away in his Sooke studio, Carey Newman is busily crafting Chemainus’ next piece of public art.
Newman, who also carved the longhouse front located beside the Chemainus Museum, has been working on another piece of Emily Carr’s work — The Great Eagle Skidegate.
“I thought it would be nice to do this reanimation of the Skidegate Eagle,” said Newman.
The eagle has been a different type of project. The challenge for the carver comes with trying to infuse three different artists into one piece. Newman is trying to incorporate the original carver of the eagle totem, Carr’s interpretation and his own style — taking inspiration from not only Carr’s painting, but from the original totem.
“It’s been interesting finding the balance between putting myself in the work and paying proper tribute to the first artist and Emily Carr.”
The eagle is being hand-crafted from red cedar, a harder wood with natural preservatives.
“If I’m doing large pieces or outdoor pieces, I’ll often use red cedar,” said Newman. “It doesn’t rot easily and it doesn’t break down easily.”
The red cedar, he added, also has large sections that are free from knots or burrows.
“It’s great for large pieces.”
For smaller, more detailed pieces, Newman likes to use cherry as the hardness allows for more detail. Newman said he doesn’t keep track of how many hours these projects take as he finds it takes away from the experience and he doesn’t want to see his work as a regular job.
“It’s a question people often want to know (how long it takes), but it is not something I concern myself with when I’m working.”
Newman started carving at age five and has made a living as an artist/carver for around 31 years.
To see some of his work, you can visit his website at www.blueraven.ca.
The new carving will be unveiled on April 23 during the Festival of Murals celebration at Waterwheel Park.