SpruceRoots Magazine - September/October 2000


Tim Boyko at work on the Sgaang Gwaii Pole at Qay'llnagaay

the carvers

Tim Boyko never expected to be among the lead carvers on Second Beach. He applied
to participate in the project as an apprentice, but when another carver dropped out of the
running he was offered the chance of a lifetime. One he's doing his best to make good on.

"I'm almost over-excited sometimes. This is it. This is a dream," he says. "I'm dreaming my life right now."

After 20 years of carving Tim is getting ready to put the finishing touches on his first large pole. He's
carved a smaller one for Skidegate Elementary School, but it's clear he looks upon this as his first major
work, and one he is taking very seriously.

"Even though it's hard, which I knew it would be, I'm not compromising."Tim started carving at fourteen and
developed his talents and reputation over the years producing finely-crafted jewelry. His favourite metal to work
with is silver, and it might be because it was the first surface he ever carved on.

"We used to steal Billy's (Bellis) mom's quarters. The quarters made before 1968 had enough silver in them to
work with. We'd pound them into shape, and make pendants out of them," he says. "I love silver because it's
got a nice feel to it, it's soft." Now Tim, along with assistant carvers Eric Olsen and Derek White, is working on
a much larger canvas. His pole features a bear eating a human, a beaver, a strong man in cormorant skin, and
an eagle. Tim says the design is inspired by a house frontal pole raised on SGaang Gwaii.

"What drew me to carving was the old style. I saw the beauty in it and it amazed me what they used to do. So
basically I want to pay tribute to it, I want to do it in my style, but I also want to do it the old way."

A glance at Tim's pole and it's easy to believe he's spent a good deal of time working on jewelry. The fine, precise
lines, the attention to detail and texture that are the jeweler's trademark are everywhere upon it. It's clear Tim is
sincere when he says he welcomed the chance to be work on a grander scale after the minute operations involved
in carving jewelry began to challenge his patience and his eyesight. But the novelty isn't all good, he admits that
sometimes it can be a handicap. "I know what I want. But because I'm not that experienced, I don't know exactly
what I want." He is, however, experienced enough to know that when it becomes an issue, he lets the work speak
for itself. "I find it's talking to me."

SpruceRoots Magazine - September/October 2000