Masset youth working to build carving shed

  • Jul. 8, 2008 9:00 a.m.

Submitted by Tiffany Lavoie-Skyler Collison is working very hard to build a carving shop for the youth of Masset and Old Massett. He believes that building a place for youth to learn about carving is important because carving is such an integral part of the Haida culture. “I think art is one of the most important things in the Haida culture because it keeps the stories going,” he said. “It all tells a story”. Carving helps to connect people to their roots; to understand who they are and where they come from. Skyler’s hope is that his carving shed will be a place that facilitates insight and guidance. “I want to build a place where kids can go whenever, so they don’t have to stand around town and drink anymore,” he said. Further, Skyler wants to create an environment that is drug and alcohol-free to educate kids about Haida carving and art. “I want to help some of the younger artists get started. There’s so much talent out there, but usually kids aren’t able to express it as more than a scribble on a piece of paper,” he said. “They don’t maximize their potential.” Skyler became inspired by the arts when he was about 13. He used to sit and watch his dad Roy Collison carve. Then he started sweeping at Reg Davidson’s carving shop. “I became a master sweeper,” Skyler said. At Reg’s carving shop you can’t just show up, you have to prove that you really want to learn before he will teach you. As Skyler spent more and more time with master carvers, he began to realize the importance of the knowledge they passed down to him about carving. “They’ve been doing it for years,” he said. “It takes 50 years to learn these tricks and they can show them to you in a matter of minutes.”For Skyler, Haida art has become a huge part of his personal identity: “I always want to do art. I always want to do art instead of anything else.”He recognizes that there is a huge amount of self-awareness and education to be learned from carving and he wants that knowledge to be shared with other youth in the community. Skyler’s carving shop will help to provide this opportunity.

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