Master carver

Darren McKenzie

Students at Okanagan College in Kelowna can learn to carve wood like the Indigenous Peoples.

Spring classes taught by Cree Métis master carver and artist Darren McKenzie were so popular that the course has been expanded for the coming session, starting Oct. 12.

“Once you learn to carve, then the sky’s the limit. If a student has an idea for what they want to do, then I am happy to walk them through it,” said McKenzie. “There’s no need to have previous artistic knowledge or Indigenous carving experience.”

McKenzie studied commercial art in college, Indian art history at the University of Regina, then illustration and sculpture at the Ontario College of Art.

After moving to Vancouver, he studied under Salish artist Gerry Sheena in 1993, and attended the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art and Design. He completed his training with a four-year apprenticeship under master carver Ken Mowatt.

Students will complete a full project, learning shortcuts and secret tricks as well as use of power tools.

The course runs two weekends in October — on Friday nights and during the day on Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 12-28. Space is limited. More information is available at

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