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Handmade Totem Poles
by Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson

Uncle Steveís Totems

Uncle Steve started his artistic career back in the 1980ís as a folk musician, busking on the streets of St. Louis, Pittsburgh and in Morgantown, West Virginia. He earned a Regents Bachelors of Arts Degree from West Virginia University, graduating in 2000 with the first class of the new millennium.

His foray into the visual arts includes a host of collage art that have graced the walls of his residences for over 25 years, and which he still creates from time to time. His palette also includes a full slate of houses that he painted inside and out and any number of dining rooms and banquet halls where he created delightful edible displays as a cook and caterer.

Uncle Steve then began painting folk art on roofing slate, saw blades and ply wood scraps, many of which were leftover from the various maintenance and construction jobs that he held over the previous twenty years.

It wasnít until 2002 that Uncle Steve started to really think seriously about carving totem poles. His good friend had a totem pole at the end of the driveway that had rotted and fell over, which Uncle Steve reset. Then it rotted and fell over again. Instead of letting it go completely to waste, Uncle Steve thought it could be repaired. At the same time there were about 20 trees cut down on the property, many of which just happened to look perfect for totem pole material.

While he began hand carving the first totem, even hitting his hands with the hammer more frequently that he was comfortable with, Uncle Steve found that he simply could not stop laughing, carving totem poles was that much fun. The feeling he describes about carving totem poles is the same timelessness that one experiences for example when playing music.

Uncles Steve lets the spirits guide him toward the outcome of each unique totem pole. His first carved totem pole started with the spirit figure of a bird, an icon used to represent trickster. That first totem pole is also the only one he has painted so far. A series of pictures of that totem are available for you to view on this web site.

These totems are all hand carved with Hammer and Chisel. What he finds is the grain of the wood that is exposed in the process of carving are further accented by finishing touch of sanding each piece to a smooth finish. The result turns each totem into a remarkably beautiful creation. Pictures of several of these totem poles are on this website.


Read the Charleston Gazette article about Steve Thompson... [GO NOW]

All designs & content © by Steve Thompson
Charleston, West Virginia