Artist Kenny Williams stands in front of the workshop he and his wife Jackie built together.

New Totem pole unveiled at Golden art show

It stands 12 feet high, and weighs a ton. And the Winston Lodge at Kicking Horse is giving you the chance to be among the first to see it.

It stands 12 feet high, and weighs a ton. And the Winston Lodge is giving you the chance to be among the first to see it.

Local artist Kenny Williams will have an entire collection of his rustic, wilderness inspired artwork on display at the Winston Lodge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, as part of their end of season wrap up party.

There will be about a dozen pieces of Williams’ art, but the focal point will be the never before seen Haida Totem pole.

“The totem pole is the centrepiece, absolutely. This is the first time anyone will have seen it. It’s 12 feet tall, it’s amazing,” said Bill Braisher, owner of the Winston Lodge. The pole was recently moved into the lodge, which was no easy task.

“It was heavy. A while back we moved an eight-foot pole into a different lodge, and this one is way heavier. But this one is more durable as well,” said Braisher.

The Totem pole may garner the most attention, but Williams’ other work is sure to catch a few eyes as well. He works with several different materials, and depicts the natural world that he and his wife love to spend time in.

“We have a lot of fun out in the bush, we both love the bush. We like to hunt and fish and hike, and just enjoy being out in the quiet, and in nature,” said Williams, adding that it is the Golden wilderness where he finds his inspiration.

“I use all mediums from nature, bone, conchs, wood. Everything comes from nature, and I think that God’s beauty is in all of that. And what I try to do is incorporate the gift that He gave me, with the natural beauty,” he said.

A Golden resident since the age of 11, Williams has enjoyed art most of his life, but hasn’t always had the space or the time to do it. But as a self-taught artist he has managed to create some amazing pieces.

“It’s a very natural thing with him. He never went to school for it, it’s just a creative thing that he has. It just comes alive. It’s amazing to watch him work like that,” said his wife Jackie.

Williams learned by emulating other artists, learning their techniques, and merging it with his own style and creativity.

It is that creativity that caught the eye of Braisher and the Winston Lodge.

“He’s made this amazing totem pole, that he’s going to leave at the lodge afterwards. He also takes elk antlers, and bones and things like that, and using dental tools he carves out eagles and birds and deer, things like that right into the bones,” said Braisher. “And he also takes pieces of birch bark, and he takes away everything that he doesn’t want. And then he’s wood burning the bear or the cougar or whatever onto the birch bark. That’s one of his mediums.”

The theme and tone of the art collection fits in perfectly with the vision of the Winston Lodge.

Winston Wolfenden for whom the lodge is named was the son of Archie Wolfenden the pioneer that came to the valley in 1919 to build the Brisco General Store. The Wolfenden family owned the Beaverfoot hunting lodge which was one of the first back country lodges in the valley. Winston was once partners with Lloyd Wilder the founder of Fairmont Hot Springs.  The lodge is a tribute and a legacy of the Wofenden and Braisher families with many members of both families working there today.

Braisure is very proud to be carrying on that legacy today. He enjoys teaching tourists who visit the lodge about the history and natural beauty of Golden.

“The summer is going to be good. I’m planning on taking our guest from Europe on tours around here, of the canyon and the glaciers and things like that,” said Braishure. “We’ll be giving them the Canadian wilderness adventure, and this is the perfect place to do it. Canadians don’t realize how in awe people are of our country.”

The art show is on Saturday April 14 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Winston Lodge Great room. There will be free champaign and appetizers. This will be followed by a closing party in the Saloon, with live music, Giant Jenga, and free food, sampling the new summer menu.