By Alison Dexter
To those he mentored, Doug Cranmer’s teaching style was reflective of his individual personality. Many of his students remember his strict emphasis on technique, detail, achieving equilibrium while not over-doing the design, and his mantra to ‘never lose the centre line.’ Despite these firm guidelines, Doug encouraged his students to experiment with their carvings, trying to get them to really see what they were looking at. Many of his students helped him with major projects such as the new Alert Bay Big House, the U’mista Cultural Centre, and the Wa’kas Pole in Stanley Park. Cranmer’s advice extended beyond carving techniques, serving as a metaphor for his attitude towards life. He wanted his
students to love doing their art and encouraged taking breaks when it became a source of stress or panic, reminding them ‘it’s just wood.’ Doug Cranmer never lost his centre line and this inspired and remains alive in the work of his students.
‘If I could teach people to see what they are looking at, I would have the whole of Alert Bay carving like crazy’ -Doug Cranmer.