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James MitchellJames Mitchell , Builder, Author and ISBA Big Wood Instructor for over 16 years.

“ I grew up where big trees, mountains and sea were my playground… I loved to build, forts on the ground, underground, in the trees, on the water, out of sand, snow, hay bales, wood or whatever I could find”.      That passion led to log and timber joinery… Years of learning and doing led to teaching and writing…Decades of focus lead to an understanding...

Craft of Modular Post & Beam BookHis book Craft of Modular Post & Beam was the first to introduce modular log building, making it doable for Owner/builder’s and eliminating the boom-and-bust cycle for the Contractor’s. 

Timber Framing BookHis book Master’s Guide to Timber Framing is the first to introduce timber Virtual Layout and Mitred Joinery based on Centerline Referencing…Achieving perfection with an imperfect material and uniting round (log) with square (timber).

 James never lost focus of that passion and for over thirty years has been building, writing and teaching about Big Wood construction,; helping people achieve understanding and independence in building and owning their home, is the Island Way.

Curriculum Vitae:

  • 1974 Graduate, B. Allan Mackie School of Log Building.
  • 1974-79 Builder,  Log and Timber housing,  British Columbia.
  • 1978/9 Instructor,  B. Allan Mackie School of Log Building.
  • 1981 Graduate, Industrial Education, University British Columbia.
  • 1983 Videos, Construction, Homeowners Assistance Program, NWT Housing Corp.
  • 1984 Author, Short Log and Timber Building Book, Hartley & Marks Publ.
  • 1986 Videos/Manuals, Northern Contractor Development, NWT Arctic College.
  • 1992-95 Owner/Builder,  4500 sq. ft. P&B ISBA Residence.  
  • 1997 Author, Craft of Modular Post & Beam, Hartley and Marks Publ.
  • 1999/2000 Director, Log and Timber Industry Association of B.C
  • 1997-…  Founder/Instructor, Island School of Building Arts.
  • 2012 Owner/Builder, ISBA Great Hall 
  • 2012 Author, Master’s Guide to Timber Framing, ISBA Publ.

Chris BellFireplace/ Stonework Instructor Chris Bell, born in the South of England and apprenticed with Stone Masons registered with the guild of Master Craftsman for four years. With 20 years experience he Worked on projects in the UK for the Duchies of Cornwall estates (Prince Charles), and the National Trust. Chris eventually brought his trade to Canada, winning awards for best restoration on a heritage home in Vancouver, BC. Chris continues his art on Gabriola Island, where he is in demand for his skill in this traditional craft.

Chris Bell

Concrete Counter Instructor Rob Borelli has taken his passion for the function and design of concrete counters and floors to a level of artistic expression. Based in Nanaimo and having almost 20 years of progressive experience in concrete placement and application, Rob continues to work on new, efficient and creative techniques. Based in Nanaimo, Rob works with his son Dean on a multitude of creative and functional residential and commercial projects.

Rob Borelli

SketchUp course Instructor Peter Gron graduated from the University of Victoria in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.  Son of a builder, Peter grew up building all manner of things and helped finance his university years with jobs in construction.  After a long career as a computer programmer and several years immersed in boatbuilding, Peter, an alumnus of ISBA’s Post & Beam and Hammer Bents courses, is now pursuing a career in designing and building timber frame structures.

Peter Gron

Ian Harrison, Carpenter
Ian has been with the school for a number of years, providing behind the scenes support for many of the projects at ISBA and taking our students’ log and timber work to the finishing stage. His sense of humour is only matched by his passion for tennis, good books and all types of sports.

Ian Harrison

Brad Crocker, is our instructional assistant, and his bio is coming soon.

Patricia Rokosh joined ISBA in 2015 as Manager of the school and student services. Along with 15 years in post-secondary education in BC and Alberta, Pat brings a passion for student learning in all the skilled trades. Her resume includes engineering technology, communications and marketing and, most recently, a Masters degree in Environment and Management (Royal Roads University) where her thesis focused on teaching sustainability in the Carpenter and Electrician apprenticeship trades.

Patricia Rokosh