I spent my childhood in Alaska and my school years in Seattle, until being drafted in 1952. After two years serving with the army in Korea, I returned to Washington, and worked variously as a warehouseman, Boeing machinist, cabinet maker, house framer, and then structural iron worker.

By 1967, I had been carving curios part-time for a few years. I took a leave of absence from work and managed to eke out a living by producing and selling what I thought was “traditional” Northwest Coast Native Art.

I was getting some pretty good commissions during the early 1970s thanks to a “renaissance” of sorts in this art form, but in 1976 I seriously considered moving on. A long-time interest in traditional Norwegian small boats took me to Norway, where I took lines of a few lap-strake boats, as well as many photographs. I was ready to embark on a new career. However, during the trip my wife and I visited the Sacred Circles exhibit at the Tate in London. This fantastic array of pre-twentieth century Native American art included a large number of which were chosen Northwest coast pieces. Captivated and inspired, I couldn’t wait to return home and launch myself onto a program of re-education.

I literally put everything that I thought I knew into the trash and emptied it. I began visiting museums and their store rooms. Bill Holm, author of the extremely helpful Northwest Coast Indian Art, an Analysis of Form, was generous enough to allow me to make copies of his vast collection of slides and I began a serious examination of old pieces, trying to relate works to particular Native artists from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I continue to learn about many regional and individual styles of this world-class art form, and it’s always exciting.