Carol is a member of the Haida Nation Eagles of Haida Gwaii and her clan is theTsiij git’anee, descendants of Labret Woman. Her great grandmother is Susan Smith. Her grandmother, who passed away when her mother was only a few months old, is Maria Kithdlaiga. Carol’s mother is Freda Courtney, nee Jones. Carol grew up in the Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert.
Carol’s artistic career started as a means to make extra income to pay for extras such as music and dance lessons for her children. After raising 4 children as a single mom, Carol had more time to devote to her artistic endeavours. In 2000 she tried her hand at using a polymer clay to sculpt little figures to show her traditional miniature regalia. With a lot of practice and using books and pictures, in a short time she was sculpting realistic miniature people, not only reproducing the faces from photo’s but also the clothes, furniture, guitars, etc. In addition to over 250 First Nations characters, she also sculpted Elvis down to his blue suede shows and Willy Nelson with his signature pony tail.
“Wood carving began with simple carvings of paddles, masks, rattles, etc, for my little miniatures. I also tried my hand at carving buttons for button collectors. At the time I was working at a post office and I realized my art income had exceeded my pay check. Needless to say, I gave up my postal job and started carving full time and since then have made a living from my art creations. I still look over my shoulder when someone calls me an artist, and still amazed at where this art world has taken me.
In 2009 I was given the opportunity to attend the First Nations Fine Arts Program at the Freda Diesing School of Art at Northwest Community College in Terrace, BC. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have worked under the direction of world renowned carvers Ken McNeil, Stan Bevan, and Dempsey Bob. The two year Diploma program has not only helped me to grow as a Northwest Coast Artist, but also helped me to grow in all aspects of my life. I will be forever grateful to my instructors for sharing their knowledge and passion for the art with me!
My favourite pieces to carve are traditional portrait masks.
I live for today, and today I am very grateful for the gifts I have been given. “