Erich Glendale is Kwakwaka’wakw with roots from Knights Inlet on northern Vancouver Island, BC. His name comes from his father, of German decent. Raised mostly in Nanaimo, he settled in with the Tseshaht people in Port Alberni, which he has called home for over two decades.
Erich was drawn to the traditional Northwest Coast art at an early age. He carved his first wooden salmon plaque when he was 16 years old, which was gifted to his mother, as is tradition in many First Nation cultures. He chose to make artwork his career at 23. Five years later, he started manufacturing his own quality carving knives for himself and other artists.
Erich’s appreciation for the art has drawn him to seek out opportunities to learn. He enjoys studying old pieces in museums and books to learn traditional Kwakwaka’wakw styles and forms, using them as inspiration to develop his own unique style. He also enjoys sharing knowledge with and learning from his colleagues who are from Nuu-chah-nulth, Nuxalk, Kwakwaka’wakw and other nations. Several relationships have allowed him to hone new skills, including adding gold and silver jewelry to his skill set.
Erich takes pride in his work with a goal to create clean elegant movement within the designs of his creations. Preferring to continuously improve and evolve, his designs are often dynamic and diligent, making many of his pieces unique with distinct elements. Exploring his creative freedom, Erich is enjoying playing with new techniques and creating new designs and one of a kind pieces. Most recently, he is spending the majority of his time carving yellow cedar panels, sculptures and masks. He still creates gold and silver jewelry to keep his day diverse.
He was commissioned by Gordon Dick to help carve a Residential School memorial pole, which was also dedicated to the memory of Art Thompson. I doing so he had the opportunity to carve Nuu-chah-nulth style depicted by his friend Gord.
He welcomes and grows from new challenges. Erich’s goal is to constantly and not shy away from growing creatively.
His artwork can be found in galleries and private collections worldwide.
“If I am certain of the outcome then I am standing still. If I am uncertain of the outcome I am moving forward. When I am standing still I am bored. When I am moving forward I am exhilarated. This is the emotional breakdown of replicating and creating original art.”