There is no actual record for when the first totem poles were created but what is known is that they were created by the American Indians on the Pacific Northwest as a artistic expression. The totem pole is used to narrate the history and legends of different tribes through carving onto wood, usually Red Cedar, the story and tale of that tribe. Each pole shows a connection between the symbols carved, whether they be human, celestial bodies, animals, plantlife or the carving of a landscape. The relationship between the different symbols is to show the idea how they can interwine with one another but still be distinctive on their own.
The carver of the pole within the tribe holds a sacred position and it is him alone that knows the true meaning of the totem, the pole will tell the story but the carver holds the advantage of keeping the secrets and meanings to themselves. It was the late 1700's that we come to know the carved totem poles of today, the popularity began and grew with the influx of Europeans to the New World but one man disagreed, Captain James Cook descibed the totem poles as "truly monstrous figures".
Links : www.totempoles.info/history.html www.history.howstuffworks.com/native-american-history/totem-pole.htm
Totem Cups is a fun piece of ceramic artwork that Rob Southcott has created, with the function of stacking the cups on top of one another to show a design of a totem pole. Southcott wanted to represent Canadian culture and Canada's indigenous people, the stacking cups are Southcott's showing of the First Nation's custom of totem pole carving.
Shawn Hunt is a Canadian artist of Heiltsuk, French and Scottish ancestry and comes from a family of artists, through his connection of having a well known father the artist 'Bradley Hunt', Shawn has developed his gift due to a five year apprenticeship with his father. This gift has enabled works of wood and jewellery carving along with traditional designs. Through his work he tries to convey that his work is neither ancient or modern but that his work shows elements of these.