Tofino Artist: Michelle Foley
Michelle was born in Quebec in 1952. She travelled for several years
searching and looking for an art form through which she could express
herself. Eventually she found that wood carving was that art and Tofino
would be the ideal place to build her home.
She rapidly fell in love with the west coast. Not long after arriving
Michelle met Henry Nola, His simplicity of life and wonderful carving
completely fascinated her. Carving with Henry at his workshop on Chesterman
Beach gave Michelle a chance to study many west coast native books.
Under Henry’s direction, Michelle soon attempted to carve her
first mask. It started as a simple sun mask, yet ultimately became
the challenge of her entire summer. Michelle slowly became familiar
with the proper technique and learned how to capture the beauty and
simplicity of it all.
Michelle was very pleased with the completion of her first mask.
The success made her feel as if she had received permission from the
Right away she started another one, and another one.
Her work with Henry continued for more than ten years. This is about
when she discovered that her great grand-mother was Cree.
Henry began to carve more and more for Roy Vickers and Michelle
opened her own little business, The Doorway, where she carved
Between the beach and The Doorway, Michelle as lived and carved
in Tofino for over 20 years. West Coast design, ceremonial
her doors have given her notoriety as an established artist
of the area.
Her work is notable not only for its carved techniques and
design but also for her application of colours.
Tofino artist Michelle Foley came to Tofino from Quebec. She learned to carve under the guidance of Henry Nolla on Chesteman Beach.