Photo Gallery of the Welcoming Pole. Click on the links below:
Phase 1 of Sutherland's Welcoming Pole
The Carving Continues Indoors
Sutherland Students are Hands On
A Closer Look
Welcoming Pole Blessing Ceremony
Ray Natraoro started his apprenticeship in 1994 for 7 years before starting out on his own. Now he has an apprentice since 2011, Victor Henry.
Ray comes from a long line of carvers - great grandfather, grandfather, and uncles on his mother's side of the family. He can carve anything and works in 2D and 3D. He works with glass, carves wood (spoons, bowls, canoes, welcoming poles) and also is known for his prints.
His tools are usually 3 blades (straight, hook, planer) and an axe. Sometimes he'll use a chainsaw, but as Ray says, "only if I'm being lazy". He uses the same tools and techniques as his ancestors.
His ancestors lived in Stanley Park, before it was Stanley Park. Ray is named after a chief of a long house, from 7 generations ago. The name is Ses Sii Yam.
Now Ray's 3 1/2 year old daughter seems to also be interested in art and can be seen painting in his home workshop.
Although working on Sutherland's welcoming pole everyday, he is also still working 7 hour days preparing for the upcoming "SNA7M: Strong Spirit: First Nations Art and Storytelling" show taking place April 30th to May 26th at the West Vancouver Boat House at Ambleside.
Ray sends this message to the students at Sutherland School:
"It's rare to witness from start to finish a piece of work of this size. Some go a lifetime without the experience. Thank you for sharing."