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This Side of the Rockies

Updated: May 22, 2020

By Jonathan Rochon, Published in Chip Chats, 2003

People travel great distances to see something on a grander scale, from small to large. This item may knock your socks off, it can’t even fit in your front yard.

It is really something to see!

Wood carver, chainsaw artist, Peter Van Adrichem is working on something huge. Van Adrichem who opened Fleetwood Studio in 2000 has the rare talent to turn an ordinary piece of wood into anything your imagination can muster, from little ladybugs to seven food black bears. This year Van Adrichem is carving his largest project yet, a 70-foot Northwest Coast style totem pole, which took 4 months to complete.

The totem pole is red cedar from British Columbia weighing 3,100 pounds. This totem pole is probably the largest this side of the Rockies. The pole has a variety of Northwest Coast Haida style carvings on it, each representing a different meaning, and each has it’s own story, from flying eagles to frogs and bears to dragonflies.

The dragonfly, for example, represents speed; young Haida boys believed eating the wings of a dragonfly would increase their speed as swimmers. Van Adrichem has incorporated many of these legends into the pole; speed is a reflection of the new owner’s passion for speedboats and cars; two humans holding hands represents the owner’s children. When asked if he found the 70 foot totem pole to be one of his harder projects, he said, “Yes, but I enjoy the challenge and I have really grown to respect the Northwest Coast carvers for their ability in carving totem poles today and especially many decades ago!”

So if you are looking for quality woodwork sculpted with heart and soul, Peter Van Adrichem can be reached at 613-258-9980 by appointment in Kemptville, Ontario. Have an idea? Let him carve it for you! Sky’s the limit!

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