Bob Wiley, a longtime Mercer Island resident, has donated a totem pole he carved in 1992 to Covenant Shores.
For years, the artwork graced Wiley’s property on Holly Lane. After moving to Covenant Shores and selling his Island home, Wiley made mention of the pole to the residents’ arts commission, which expressed interest in moving it to the campus picnic area near the lake.
Wiley, who was studying Pacific Northwest carving as an avocation, recalls being notified by a friend that a cedar tree had been felled on the north end of Mercer Island 26 years ago. Discovering the log was available, he arranged to haul it to Holly Lane, where he spent several weeks shaping the wood based on a design he’d drawn. The pole is a He-Bear fashioned after a Haida totem by the late-Canadian carver Bill Reid.
When Wiley related how Reid was the inspiration for his pole, he was surprised to learn from the campus chaplain that the legendary Haida carver was Greg Asimakoupoulos’ Canadian-born wife’s uncle.
See www.covenantshores.org for more on the Mercer Island retirement community.