Arts & Entertainment

Tri-City Woodcarvers show this weekend at Tri-Tech in Kennewick

Imagine sitting next to a campfire along the Vancouver Island coastline hundreds of years ago.

A mist is rolling in off the ocean and there is a sense of peace and tranquility among your Native American tribesmen as the storytelling becomes more animated, supernatural and passionate in nature.

It was perhaps during those ancient times that various works of art were created either by carving an image from a hunk of wood or establishing color schemes for clothing from various sources as all members of the tribe listened to the tales.

Ron Lunde of Kennewick has been captivated by the romance of Northwest American Indian art since he first saw it at Canadian galleries during a cruise through the Inland Passage to Alaska in the '90s.

"I was fascinated by the art form from the moment I first saw it and developed a keen interest to learn more," Lunde said.

The intriguing designs tell so much about the traditions and culture of those long ago Indians, he said.

Lunde is one of the featured wood carvers at this year's Tri-City Woodcarvers show, which is March 21-22 at the Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick.

After retiring in 1994, Lunde sought out Jim Ploegman's Master Carvers School in Renton to begin his quest to master the art of carving.

In October 1999, he entered his inaugural wood sculpture, Eagle Spirit, in woodcarving shows across the state and won best of show in four of those events.

Most of Lunde's carvings are masks that range in size from 3 inches to 20 inches and reflect the same traditional art style as early Native Americans.

Woodcarving was a staple during the old days but by the 20th century the art form began to dwindle in popularity. It was in the mid-'50s that it made a comeback thanks to artist Bill Reed and Bill Holm, Lunde said.

Lunde will have a couple of pieces at the Kennewick show, and he'll also be on hand to answer questions.

When Lunde isn't carving his own piece of romantic Indian sculpture, he's running his online carving supply business, Cascade Carvers Supply.

"It keeps me pretty busy," he said. But not so busy as to keep him from his quest of whittling his own little pieces of history.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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