TOFINO, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Guests of Wickaninnish Inn usually come and go. Except for one man, no longer living, who's there to stay.
"Yeah, his spirit and his energy pervades this place. It's integral to who and what we are," said Wickaninnish artist George Yearsley.
What embodies the resort is the soul of a legendary artist, Henry Nolla. In the 1970's he use to carve in a beach-side shed on the property.
Charles McDiarmid, owner of Wickaninnish Inn, said, "The carving shed was part of the Wickininnish long before the Wickaninnish Inn was ever built."
McDiarmid remembers Nolla well. The carver was a squatter living on the McDiarmid's family property. When construction of the Wickaninnish began, Nolla was invited to stay and add artistic touches throughout the inn.
"Every post, every beam was hand adzed with his own handmade tools," said McDiarmid.
Nolla worked with a distinct style and dress code, sometimes in the nude.
McDiarmid explained, "Henry Nolla did have his own dress code. In fact, this end of the beach was known as 'Henry's End', not because you could quite often see Henry's end on a sunny warm day, but he had the cabin on this end of the beach."
Nolla is gone now, but certainly not forgotten. He's remembered every day by the artists he inspired. In the carving shed where Nolla once worked, Yearsley creates delicate feathers out of recycled old-growth wood.
"This is what I think is my finest piece I've made so far", Yearsley said, holding one of his feather carvings. "That's a western cedar feather in a yellow cedar box."
Yearsley, also known as 'Feather George,' found his calling after 35 years of wilderness backpacking.
"On a lot of those trips I would get an internal voice that would tell me that you are about to find an eagle feather and every time I got that voice, I found an eagle feather," Yearsley said.
Yearsley honors the eagles with his carvings, and he honors Nolla by never letting his spirit fade away.
"I picked up some teaching about life from him," Yearsley said. "And one of those teachings was to be a welcomer."
Visitors can meet 'Feather George' and watch him carve in the shed right by the Inn's beach building.
500 Osprey Ln
Tofino, BC V0R, Canada
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