One of the special First Nations guests at the Winter Carnival in Boitanio Park this weekend will be Spirit Carver Dean Ross/Gilpin, a member of the Pioneer Log Homes’ international team of carvers featured in the Timber Kings, Carver Kings television shows.
Ross-Gilpin will be carving small sculptures that will be auctioned for charity.
“The pieces for charity purposes will be big enough to carry but not too big,” he says.
Pieces he creates are inspired by the individual pieces of wood presented to him.
“Each piece of wood has a different story,” Ross/Gilpin says.
“It’s all about the feeling of the piece, how it makes you feel when you view it,” Ross-Gilpin says. “I want people to feel connected to the piece.”
Ross-Gilpin has worked full time for Pioneer Log Homes for about 12 years starting out as a builder and soon finding that he had a gift for carving.
“I worked from the bottom up learning the trades as I went along,” Ross-Gilpin says.
He learned to carve by picking up and carving scraps of wood in his spare time, a natural evolution of his artistic talents which he says started with pencil and paper drawings.
“The only other carvers I knew were on the Carver Kings (television show) and I took my inspiration from them,” says Ross/Gilpin, who is grateful to Pioneer Log Homes for allowing him to develop his wood carving talent and donating the wood he will carve at the Winter Carnival this weekend.
His favourite wood is western red cedar and he uses all sizes of chainsaws from the largest to the tiniest “dime tip” to develop his artistic wood carvings then finishes them with a variety of sanders and grinders.
He says the most important sculptures he has created were the 12 stations of the cross plaques which he created for the church at Sugar Cane which he worked on for about six months on and off.
“It took me a long time and was a big challenge,” Ross-Gilpin says.