At Martis Camp, Folk School classes promote art and learning through shared experiences. Instructor Erik Rinkleff, of Rustic Road Studio, has been teaching woodcarving for our Folk School since 2009. Erik is a master of his craft, carving everything from holiday ornaments to larger-than-life totem poles. The whimsical nature of his work fits perfectly within Martis Camp’s setting and many of his woodcarvings have been placed around the community.
Have you met Marty the Bear? A hike out west along the South Creek Trail will take you to one of Erik’s first creations. Marty has a twin, too. At the Lost Library, look for Martina who was carved at the same time by one of Erik’s ambassador apprentices.
Near Hole 10, the totem pole reaches toward the treetops with a series of symbolic animals and imagery. The design was a collaboration among several creative minds at Martis Camp, including fellow Folk School Instructor Larry Charles. Erik notes, “We wanted a traditional looking totem pole that told the Martis Camp story, including natural and cultural histories. We also wanted some expression of the new and unfolding Martis Camp chapter. Animals found on the property became the focal point. They are supported by regional flora (mule’s ear, pinecones); activities (ski poles, snowshoes); and at the base the idea of the creation of the Martis Camp community and family. The locomotive speaks of the Truckee connection and the mountain at the base grounds the totem pole just as the real mountains influence the entire region.”
Of all the carvings Erik has done at Martis Camp, the totem pole required the most time and teamwork to complete. He adds, “I think it took about nine days to carve and paint. At the end, it was clear I wasn’t going to finish all by myself. Ronnie Yeager grabbed a sander and helped sand. I think Sydney and Kelly from the Family Barn were out to help a bit with the paint.” The result is a stunning work of art, topped with an eagle’s wingspan, overlooking the back nine of the golf course.
At the Springs Pavilion, Erik embarked in a new direction. “I did the wood spirit at the Springs Pavilion about two years ago. This wood spirit is watching over and protecting the tree house. I also did another wood spirit along the trail past Marty, near the creek crossing at the very west end.”
Erik carves in ice, too. During the holidays, he has transformed several large blocks into jovial characters outside the Family Barn and Lookout Lodge.
To see all of Erik’s carvings in the community, you’ll need hiking shoes, a sense of adventure and a belief in the characters of the forest. Imbued with his creativity, Erik’s work can be found near trails and amenities. You may want to start your search at the Park Pavilion where a fanciful abode awaits your discovery. Erik says, “The Park Pavilion is such a fun place to hang out, I thought something fun and imaginative would fit right in. I really like the location because of all the paths crossing the park.”
Keep watching for more carvings. Next time Erik returns to teach at Folk School, he’ll likely leave our forest filled with more art and imagination than when he arrived.