Learning the traditional shapes used in this type of art was cool- ovoids and U-shapes are the foundation; more complex patterns can use S-shaped wave and T-shaped peaks; all this was taught to us by a First Nations Elder. Soon, we were given handmade knives, and told to grip them like we going to stab the wood. The knife is held firmly by the right hand, but the left thumb- pushing- has complete control.
Needless to say, it was a steep learning curve for everybody; with many people suddenly realizing their design would be much more difficult to carve that previously anticipated. Nevertheless, everyone managed to impress themselves and each other with the final outcome: these projects, after being sanded and painted, look pretty great.
Mara Ireta Gordon