Third-generation carver Ryan Scoular of Pemberton, British Columbia, is a chip off the old block. By Lisa Richardson.

He sold his first piece to a gallery when he was 13 years old, but what he remembers most about the transaction was the gallery owner, Leona Lattimer, telling him that she wasn’t buying it because of who his father is, saying, “I’m buying this piece because it’s quality enough to hang on the wall in my gallery.”

Scoular had been carving under the guidance of his respected father, Derald Scoular, a Sechelt Nation carver in the Kwakwaka’wakw style, since he was big enough to hold a knife, but at that moment, he was acknowledged as an artist in his own right. At 20, he trained to become a heavy-duty mechanic and spent the next 13 years working in various trades. He always returned to his true passion of carving when he had the chance. His latest projectmight be the rurning point that will allow him to dedicate himself completely to his art.

Scoular is working on the largest commission of his career: a 20-foot red cedar totem pole four years in the making that will grace the entrance of a custom Whistler residence.

From his backyard Pemberton studio, Scoular, 33, is carving a story of eagles into the sweet-smelling wood, an eight-month process of revealing by removal. He’s unravelling his future path at the same time. “I’m a creator, but at times I feel like an observer,” he says of the carving journey. “I’m so grateful to carry this ancient tradition into the future.”