Bobby Manuel

Colville Lake

Artist Story

I paint and carve what I see. I am surrounded by nature and beauty in my home community of Colville Lake, so inspiration is everywhere. What I see with my own two eyes, I try to recreate down to the finest details. The process takes quite a bit of time because I love to come up with ideas that no one has thought of before. For me, it’s important to really think about what I want the final product to look like before I start. I love seeing completing pieces, especially if it turns out exactly how I wanted it to be. I find that to be pretty cool!

When I was about 16 years old, I got in trouble and ended up being incarcerated for 8 months. While I was there, I met two Inuit carvers who taught me their skills. I made my first little boat and then I kept learning from that point on. In the beginning, my carvings weren’t smooth like theirs, so I had to challenge myself.  I would carve grizzlies and mountain sheep, which require more intricate details compared to smoother animals such as seals. Once I made a carving out of the head of a mountain ram. In the horns, I carved Elder’s faces, grizzly bears and all kinds of other northern animals. I sold that piece to the museum in Norman Wells. Today, I am proud to be a master carver with bone, antler and soapstone.

Making art just makes me happy. It takes a lot of practice to become good at it, but I like a challenge. Every piece I make tells a story. When you look at it, you will see it. It keeps me moving forward.



Last Updated: May 23, 2023

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