We are proud of our long-standing relationships with many Northwest Coast Indigenous carvers that allow us to work with you to create beautiful custom masks, panels, paddles, totem poles, bentwood boxes, and other carvings. Ordering a commissioned Northwest Coast work of art can be a wonderful and collaborative experience for you, the artist, and the gallery. Whether you have a specific design or crest in mind, or are wanting the artist to interpret your vision, we will work with you and the artist to make a one-of-a-kind lasting treasure.

A few questions to start thinking about:

  • What kind of artwork are you looking for? (Panel, Mask, Paddle, Totem Pole, Bentwood Box, etc.)
  • What size are you thinking? And will it be inside or outside (totem pole)?
  • Do you have a specific artist in mind?
  • Do you have a certain design or crest in mind, or would you like the artist to interpret your story?
  • Would you like the carving to be painted with specific colours or just oiled to highlight the natural grain of the wood?
  • What is your overall vision for the piece?
  • Do you have a specific budget and timeline in mind?

If you are not sure of the answers, we are here to help, and can talk it through with you. After we work out the details, we will send you a customized quote, which will vary widely depending on the type of work and the artist. The next step is often for the artist to create a draft design, fine-tune the elements with your feedback and when ready, start the process of carving the right piece of wood.

Custom Panels & Paddles

Whether you are looking for carved or sandblasted, painted or unpainted, small or large, there are many possibilities when ordering custom.

Panels and paddles are traditionally made from red or yellow cedar, and can vary in shape and size. They can be carved or sandblasted, painted or unpainted, with inlays (abalone, mother-of-pearl, copper) or none, and with a wide array of designs and crests.

 

Indigenous Carvnings - Red cedar sandblasted round panel with native design of hummingbird
Sandblasted Hummingbird Panel by Kwakuitl artist Trevor Hunt

 

carved and painted cedar paddle with native design of a loon
Carved Loon Paddle with abalone inlays by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Bill Henderson

Nuu-chah-nulth artist Joshua Prescott holding a carved Raven and Sea Serpent Panel with abalone and cedar bark


Sandblasted Raven Paddle by Kwakiutl artist Trevor Hunt

Custom Masks

Original and authentic Northwest Coast masks are based on a living tradition, where the artist will focus on and interpret a traditional story or symbol to which they have hereditary rights. A mask will often represent supernatural creatures, animals, myths, or transformation stories of a human to a mythical creature/animal or spirit. As well as being popular and collectable works of art, masks and other carvings continue to play an integral role in cultural and ceremonial practices.

Masks are usually carved from red and yellow cedar, or alder wood, and may be painted or unpainted. They can include adornments including abalone, mother-of-pearl, copper, horse hair, cedar bark, or feathers, and may even include articulated parts (moving joints, often a beak or wings, that are manually activated by pulling on an integrated rope or string). The representations and styles of masks can vary widely depending on which nation the artist is part of.

Sea Eagle Transformation Mask by Kwakiutl artist Calvin Hunt
8 Symbols Mask by Nuu-chah-nulth artist Patrick Amos
Chief of the Undersea World Mask by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Bill Henderson
carved and painted native eagle headdress or mask
Carved Eagle Headdress with abalone, copper and cedar bark by K'omoks artist Karver Everson
carved and painted native harvest man mask with cedar bark
Carved Harvest Man Mask with abalone, copper, mother-of-pearl, and cedar bark by Kwakiutl artist Trevor Hunt
Carved Man in Canoe Mask with horse hair, cedar bark, feathers, and abalone by Ditidaht artist Russell Tate
Spirit Bear Headdress by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Tom Hunt
Portrait Mask by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Cole Speck

Baby Raven Headdress by Kwakiutl artist Trevor Hunt

Custom Totem Poles

Totem Poles are monumental cultural objects that represent and commemorate stories, ancestry, histories, people, achievement or events. There are seven principal types of totem poles: memorial poles (erected when a house changes hands to commemorate the past owner and to identify the present one), house posts (which support the roof), portal poles (which have a hole through which a person enters the house), welcoming poles (often placed at the edge of a territory or a body of water to identify the owner), mortuary poles (grave markers), and ridicule or shaming poles (on which an important individual who had failed in some way had his likeness carved and depicted in a belittling way).

Totem Poles can be custom ordered and designed for your indoor or outdoor spaces. A totem pole often tells a story or legend through representations of symbols, including animals, mythological beings, and humans. The wood to create a pole is traditionally blessed, and a ceremony is often held when the pole is raised on-site. They are traditionally carved in red cedar, can be painted or unpainted, and vary widely in size (usually 5 - 50 feet long), design and meaning.

The below video features a behind-the-scenes tour of the studio of Chief Calvin Hunt, a highly respected and acclaimed Northwest Coast artist from Fort Rupert, BC. You will see him walk you through his studio, and get an inside peek into how a custom totem pole is created.

 

Guardian of the Gildas Totem Pole by Kwakwaka'wakw artist Junior Henderson

 

Raven and Sun Totem pole by Kwakiutl artist Calvin Hunt

carver in studio next to custom carved totem pole

In progress custom Totem Pole by K'omoks artist Karver Everson

Email the gallery at info@spiritsofthewestcoast.com or call us toll free at 1-877-338-2120 to discuss custom options and help bring your vision to life