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MAC sets totem carving talk, tour


For the last quarter-century, the heritage-rich artwork of master carver Dale Faulstich has towered above Clallam County in the hand-carved totem poles that stand at Jamestown S’Klallam tribal enterprises in Blyn and beyond.

Faulstich will discuss the totem carving process in a presentation at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at the Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road in Sequim.

Admission for the program, sponsored by the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, is $5 for MAC members or $7 for non-members and payable at the door.

Having designed and carved totem poles for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe for the past 25 years, Faulstich said he has created more than 50 totems including 30 located within a half-mile radius of the tribe’s  “House of Myths” Carving Shed in Blyn.

As part of the program, the master carver will describe step-by-step what is involved in creating a hand-carved totem pole and present a slideshow chronicling his work.

The following day, Faulstich will lead a tour of the Carving Shed, located on the Jamestown S’Klallam tribal campus, 1033 Old Blyn Highway in Blyn. The tour begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 1, and is $20 for MAC members or $25 for non-members, payable at the door.

“I’ve been carving since I was a little kid,” said Faulstich, who oversees several other carvers at the Carving Shed. “I just taught myself by doing it.”

Faulstich said totem poles typically take four to six months to complete and average 30 to 35 feet tall. Among the dozens of totems he has created, Faulstich said the 49-footer that stands in front of 7 Cedars Casino and measures 6 feet in diameter is the largest.

“Anything taller than that is a waste of time because people can’t see the detail,” he said, noting the custom-designed totems are made of western red cedar. “There’s no point in making something that people can’t see.”

Those attending the Saturday tour will be able to see several projects currently under way in the Carving Shed, including repainting two 20-year-old Jamestown S’Klallam totems that normally stand in front of the casino as well as carving a 37-foot totem commissioned by a tribe in New Brunswick, Canada.

Faulstich, whose other artistic creations range from masks and drums to carved doors and wall panels, also teaches carving classes for tribal youth and periodically leads intensive carving workshops for the public. His artwork is the subject of the 2008 book “Totem Poles of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe: The Art of Dale Faulstich,” which is available in local bookstores.

This presentation and tour concludes the MAC’s winter history program series. For more information, call 681-2257.
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