Port Townsend School of Woodworking
Preserving the Tradition

Adam McIsaac


Adam McIsaac

From an early age, Adam McIsaac has been rooted in the ways of the Pacific Northwest.  The son of a fisheries biologist, Adam spent his formative years walking the forests and riverbanks of the Pacific Northwest absorbing the environmental riches abundant in this area.  As Adam grew older, his connection to the Northwest manifested itself in a keen interest in the ways of northwest aboriginal cultures.  Adam spent years studying and learning aboriginal life skills, passing this knowledge on as a teacher at well-known survival and aboriginal life classes throughout the Northwest.  It is from this background that Adam’s passion for Northwest Coast Indian Art emerged.

Determined to refine his skills as an artist, Adam sought the guidance of world-renowned Northwest Coast artist, Duane Pasco.  In an intensive understudy with Pasco, Adam’s artwork flourished, Adam gained considerable expertise in the art and culture of the Pacific Northwest and learned to make his own traditional tools that he used to create the centerpiece of his studies.  Above all, Adam began what has proven to be a life long quest to understand and bring recognition to this unique form of art.

Over the last 12 years, Adam’s current focus has been on the art and culture of the Chinookan speaking peoples of the Columbia River valley, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the Dalles, Oregon.  Inspired by their local artistry, Adam has incorporated Columbia River designs into traditional panels displayed at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA and customary house posts standing at Blue Lake State Park in Oregon.  Adam also played a large part in the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial for his ambitious role as head carver at the Cathlapotle Plank house in Ridgefield, WA. Through his goal in educating the people of this area in this indigenous art form Adam erected a ten-foot tall power figure as a mascot, The Navigator, at Columbia Valley Elementary School and carved panels for Portland State University. His love for the environment led to his contribution to the architectural splendor at the newly completed Port of Portland building that was named among the world’s greenest buildings. 

Adam has also found much fulfillment in working with and learning from the local Natives.  This is just yet another outlet where he can continue his goal in helping to revitalize the art of the Columbia River peoples.  Adam’s artwork is respected worldwide and has become known as an iatrical part of local communities.

Adam’s true passion is to recreate accurately the artwork of the Northwest Coast as a means of bringing recognition to their culture and elaborate art form.  All of Adam’s artwork adheres to the strict tribal standards seen in historical Northwest Coast art and reflects its overall sophistication.  Through this diligence, Adam brings the beauty and refinement of Northwest Coast art to all that seek it.



Email adzeit@mac.com