A Carver’s Legacy exhibit features soapstone works in honour of local artist

Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre exhibit in honour of the late Pat Wells

A carving by Pat Wells on display in the A Carver's Legacy project. Photo: Barbara Maye

By Barbara Maye

Stone Carving and Revelstoke have a long and successful history to the delight of locals and visitors alike. An exhibition currently on display at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre shares local carvers and local stones in the memory of one such piece of that history – the late Pat Wells.

A Carver’s Legacy features the gift of Pat Wells, a long-time Revelstoke resident, naturalist and outdoorsman, and former CPR Conductor. Pat gathered soap stones with the help of friends and guidance of prospectors and artists before him. When Pat passed, he left a cache of stones at his home, which was disseminated to local carvers by the new owners, the Beaumonts, in the true spirit of Pat’s generosity.

A carving by Peter Blackmore and Jo C Willems. Photo: Barbara Maye

Five artists: Peter Blackmore, Kristi Lind, Barbara Maye, Karen Millard and Jo C. Willems were honoured and encouraged to work the stones collected by Pat into their own creative expressions with respect to the artist and family that gifted them. Several of Pat’s works, both complete and in process share the space, revealing his process and scope of work, along with several images of Pat – doing what he loved best – enjoying nature. Pat’s daughter, Sheena Bell, participated extensively with the exhibition and warmly created a personal and revealing biographic book from family documents and images of her father, which is also available for purchase.

Pat Wells touched the hearts of many people in our community, and this exhibition is a tribute to the true legacy of his spirit – generous, talented and inspiring.

Images of Pat Wells. Photo: Barbara Maye

Sheena Bell, deeply moved by the experience of the entire process, shares this:

“For myself and my dad’s family, the Carver’s Legacy exhibition has meant a great deal in how we continue to celebrate his life in ours. He shared so much with us through his passion for all things natural and always with a connection to relationships. When Jo Willems contacted me in the winter with the idea for an exhibition honoring the legacy of my dad, I was moved and profoundly inspired to support the artists in whatever way I could. It has certainly been a blessing to be able to work alongside the talented artists as they carved with the stone that my dad had gathered and shared with them. I feel inspired by their creativity, from the conversations we had as they were in the process of carving and am excited and grateful for the sense of encouragement to have my own children beginning to play with the raw stone, and to share in the emotion-full creations of their Papa and the artists who continue to create. Thank you to the artists who have contributed, for their hard work to make this happen, and for their thoughtful engagement of my family in the process.”  

A carving by Karen Millard. Photo: Barbara Maye

A Carver’s Legacy is supported by a grant from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance and will be on display until August 24, Centre Side Gallery, Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre, 320 Wilson Street. 250-814-0261