Tofino artist Wayne Adams
Thirty years ago Wayne Adams began carving at age twenty four. At that
time, he spent weeks away from his family, roaming the forests of BC
as a ranger.
Cedar surrounded him, and he decided to take up carving it to pass
the lonely nights. Birds, his first carvings, were brought home as
gifts to his children. Wayne developed a love for birds at a young
age, when he collected eggs whil living five years in Australia with
He began carving the ivories in his thirties, and birds were still
a focus. Sweet Nectar, a humming bird and orchid combination, carved
from sperm whale tooth and buffalo horn, placed him among thirty
artists picked to represent BC in Expo 86.
At age thirty four Wayne left forestry and became a full time artist.
Using his pension to purchase an 8 1/2 ft. elephant tusk, he carved
his largest masterpiece, Cachalot, which was displayed in 1988 at
The Victoria Art Gallery in The Profiles of a Heritage Art Show. A
year creation, Cachalot depicts a sperm whale and four squid in combat.
It also images explosive harpoons used to harvest whales. The material
it is made of, will always make Cachalot a political piece.
Presently Wayne lives in a beautiful magenta floathouse (another
one of his creations) with his wife Catherine. Working primarily in
mammoth and fossilised ivories, Wayne says his lifestyle is his art,
and that he squeezes his carving in. Over 2800 of his pieces have
found homes in BC, and his work is purchased locally and worldwide.
Taking a trip to visit Wayne and his dwelling named “The Bower”,
would be well worth it. One thing you can be sure of with Wayne… he’s
a man who will always be creating.