My name is Carol Young and I am a member of the Haida Nation of Haida Gwaii. In 1989 I received my status under Bill-C31. Since I received my status I have been working with and for first nations on Vancouver Island. My work and meeting other first nation people sparked my need to learn more about my own Haida heritage. My First Nations heritage is my inspiration for my art.
I have been sculpting my characters for almost two years now. I have never had formal sculpting instruction or worked with a mentor, I am self-taught, learning through trial and error, and from art and northwest coast cultural books. This has allowed me to learn more about my own Haida family, an opportunity I was not afforded growing up.
Each of my characters is an original, some taken from pictures of our West Coast people. I prefer to not call my characters dolls, as each one has a unique personality of their own. I love people, learning about and listening to their stories, and I feel this is why people can relate to my characters.
I try to use traditional materials for the regalia. I have learned to harvest wood for carving, cedar bark for weaving, have been taught the basics of carving and can do simple masks. I have learned a small amount of weaving from books and do simple capes etc. with the cedar bark. The button blankets are made from melton wool and the designs on the blankets are my own. I recycle materials when I can. My characters are made from polymer clay called sculpy.
Being a single mom for 20 years has been a challenge financially. When I started sculpting two years ago my thought was just to make extra income. I did not expect to be called an artist, and did not expect the response my characters create. A friend of mine took some of my work to the Gallup, New Mexico Intertribal and I won first in my division. It was then that I started to take my art seriously and consider a career as an artist. Since then I have participated in a juried show in Courtenay, and developed an internet site to show my work. I have created almost fifty characters to date.
I recently applied for, and was awarded a grant from the First Peoples Cultural Foundation to create a piece to be juried for the BC Festival of the Arts. I was accepted to the Festival and will be showing the piece" Women's Traditions" in May 2002.
I am grateful for the gifts the creator has chosen to give me and try to give back by donating and giving much of my art to assist others in bettering their lives. It is my belief that the knowledge we acquire is to be given away, and I look forward to the day when I will be a mentor to others.
Carol Young (nee Bagshaw)