Lucille Erlandson said watching Spirit Carver Dean Gilpin create a grizzly bear for her has been a very precious experience. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Lucille Erlandson said watching Spirit Carver Dean Gilpin create a grizzly bear for her has been a very precious experience. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Bear carving sparks Williams Lake friendship

“I have a new friend because I didn’t know him before this.”

A carved grizzly bear taking shape in Williams Lake is changing the look of a neighbourhood and forging a new friendship between its owner and the carver.

Lucille Erlandson and Jerry Geier who live on Borland Road overlooking Scout Island hired Spirit Carver Dean Gilpin to transform a Douglas-fir log into a grizzly bear for them.

“The tree was kind of scary and was taken down two years ago,” Erlandson said Monday as Gilpin prepared to add some finishing touches to the bear.

“Now he’s a real bear,” she said. “He’s absolutely beautifully done. It’s a very priceless, priceless gift.”

Gilpin works full time for Pioneer Log Homes of B.C. in the Williams Lake area and has been chainsaw carving the last five years.

“I’ve always been artistic and worked with many different things. You can be creative with anything,” he said, explaining how he used to start with a pencil and paper, but now has found his calling carving wood.

When he saw first saw the Douglas-fir log, he had an idea that came to him naturally, he said.

“Every move, every cut stroke you see. They come bang, bang, bang, bang and my problem is I have to stop every once in a while because when I am doing it, I zoom in and don’t want to stop.”

As she watched Gilpin work to add more detail to the bear, Erlandson said she gets very emotional when she talks about the bear and the carver.

“It’s all there and it just keeps flowing out of him the whole time. He’s done this for five days, ” she said.

“And I have a new friend because I didn’t know him before this happened. It’s all been a precious, precious time. He’s had a good time here and we would help him wherever he would need. I know that.”

As for Gilpin, he said knows he can be hard to get hold of so he’s glad it worked out for the couple.

His vision for the carving worked out due to his skills from working at Pioneer, he said, noting he can split pencil lines with a chainsaw.

“I separated the wood to make the bear’s head protruding forward to make it a real bear,” he said.

Neighbours have been stopping by to watch the bear’s progress, many giving a thumbs up, Erlandson said, adding the next step will be to give the bear a name.

Read More: First all-woman team among mountaineers heading to Yukon’s Kluane National Park

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