Skip Saunders ~ Ximximlayc Sutslimx

Region: Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

Bella Coola

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Artist Statement

The intent of my work has always been cultural; to foster my Sutslmix culture and uplift my traditional teachings through art


A hereditary chief, Skip was born and raised on Nuxalk Territory and has been carving for 25 years. A self-taught artist, Skip knew from a young age that carving was in his blood.

“I must have been seven years old when another carver pressed a knife in my hand and helped me carve a pole in the townsite,” recalled Saunders. “It’s hereditary, my ancestors were master builders. When my eldest son was a baby, I put woodchips in his basket. Now he’s creating masterpieces.”

Skip is a woodcarver and carves predominantly with red cedar, the “wood of masters.” He creates masks and plaques based on the supernatural beings of the Nuxalk smayustas or “stories of origin.” He considers his work to be both traditional and contemporary, and he’s a perfectionist, creating clean, hard lines.

In 2014, Skip carved a large traditional ocean-going canoe that was paddled by Nuxalkmc in the 2014 Tribal Journey’s Qatuwas Festival to the neighbouring community of Bella Bella, 130 nautical miles west of his hometown of Bella Coola.

Work Samples

Types of Work I Do


Where to Buy

You can buy my work at the following Gallery / Store.

Copper Sun Gallery

Address: 442 Mackenzie Street Bella Coola, BC Canada
Website: visit
My Toolkit

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