Friday, September 7, 2012

Richard's West Coast Paddles

- by Michelle

The west coast of British Columbia is a magnificent place to live. We are blessed by its natural landscape of rugged shorelines, jagged snow-capped mountains and green forests. There is no shortage of places to visit where one can find solitude and quietness. When Richard and I venture outdoors for a hike up a trail or to sit quietly by the seaside, we always feel inspired and re-energized by the natural surroundings. We enjoy the soothing sound of quiet rolling waves and glistening waters of summer time, or dramatic crashing waves against the shoreline during winter storms. It is during these winter storms when the tides bring in a bountiful supply of driftwood, a treasure trove of cedar logs. The storms just as easily sweep them away.

It is during our visits to one of the other islands situated along the Sunshine Coast, where my husband and I spend time beachcombing. Richard is always joyful and enthusiastic, especially when surrounded by cedar logs and driftwood on the beach. I cannot help but laugh to myself when I see the expression on Richard’s face when he sets eyes on the miles of strewn logs. Inspiration awakens the artist. From driftwood he has created many masterpieces.

His enthusiasm and creative energy inspired him to build, by himself and without the use of any power tools, two log cottages. The logs were hand carried up very steep hills, one by one, to the building sites. The logs were cut and shaped with an axe, cross-cut saw, adzes, hammer and nails. He single-handedly tore down an old cottage and rebuilt it - again, without power tools. Richard was then nicknamed the ‘human excavator’ and ‘human forklift’ by locals of that island.

One of Richard's creations from cedar logs
(no power tools were used)

Another cottage Richard built by hand

Richard’s talents with driftwood are also seen in his west coast paddles, also hand-crafted from cedar driftwood and inspired by the Coast Salish paddles. I will include a few of them here for viewing. Not only are they beautiful but are also lightweight and glide with ease through the water.

As I said, the tides carry in and also carry out these wonderful gifts along our shorelines. The artist uses his/her imagination and carefully selects pieces from the shore but does not disturb the natural ecosystem by taking all the logs. No power tools or heavy equipment are used. These logs also provide shelter for many sea animals and birds - which we must take care of.

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Sheila said...

Hello Michelle - I am amazed by the beautiful paddles and cabins your husband has created. They are works of art. It must be wonderful to glide over the water on calm days and arrive at the small islands. You both are truly experiencing the beauty of the West Coast.

aka Penelope said...

It is difficult to imagine how your husband was able to build such wonderful log cabins by hand, Michelle. He must be completely in tune with how log cabins were built in the pioneer days. What an incredible feat requiring patience and a love of wood, no doubt. They looks so wonderful tucked away in the forest. And the paddles he created are functional works of art. I am glad to have found you here on this site as I’ve missed your other blog. :)

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