Heritage – Nisga’s – Gitsan
Cecilia was born in Hazelton, B.C., Cecilia began carving at the feet of her father, master carver Randy Adams. Now in her early twenties, Cecilia’s now creating her own yellow cedar plaques, soapberry spoons, and most recently, one, two, and three-figure totem poles. Her painting skills are exceptional, one of her specialties is hand-painted drums. She has worked with her father and brothers over the years, helping to create large scale totems, doors, bowls, halibut hooks to name a few. She hopes to learn the skill of engraving jewelry in the near future. Cecilia’s works can be found in collections worldwide.
Randy raised in Prince Rupert, B.C. A Nishga native of Kincolith from the house of Byt-Nekt – Eagle, Beaver clan. Randy was taught to carve by his Uncle when he was ten years old. Now in his forties and considered a Master Carver, his two oldest children Darrel & Clint work with him. Randy also has the privilege to be the storyteller of his people. This is how their histories and legends are communicated from one generation to the next. Randy is a multi-media artisan working in gold, silver, wood, original paintings and prints. Major showings of his work have been held in Seattle and Alaska. Commissioned by the Frog clan of Kitwancool near Skeena, Randy carved a forty-foot pole dedicated to the children and he has been commissioned for totem poles shipped to Germany.
In 1957 Patrick was born on Nootka Island, located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, into the Mowachaht Band (one of fourteen-member tribes of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nation). Since 1976 Patrick has been designing limited edition prints. In 1979 he began carving wood, apprenticing with Tony Hunt Sr. at the art of the Raven gallery in Victoria, B.C. Later he apprenticed with Tim Paul at the Royal B.C. museum carving shed in Victoria, where he assisted with a few totem pole projects. In 1989/90 he assisted Tim Paul to carve a 36 foot Hesquiaht totem pole for the Mauri people in New Zealand. Patrick began selling his work through the Royal B.C. museum shop in Victoria in 1976. He had his first solo exhibition in 1991 at the gallery Indigena in Statford, Ontario. Then, in 1992 he exhibited at the Native Heritage Centre in Duncan, and the Gallery of Tribal Arts in Vancouver, and The Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria. has several paintings and prints of Patrick’s in their permanent collection. Increasingly Patrick is being commissioned for larger works and he now takes on apprentices of his own to assist with these projects. His commissions include a 10 foot by 30 foot mural for the Mount Klitsa, Junior Secondary School in Port Alberni, B.C. which was completed in 1995. In 1997 he completed a 14 foot totem pole for the Alberni District School in Port Alberni, B.C, and a 8 foot by 20 foot painted mural for the new Ha-Ho-Payuk elementary school on the TseShaht reserve in Port Alberni. Patrick is active in his community, giving carving demonstrations at various schools throughout the Port Alberni School district each year.
Troy is a member of the Coast Salish Nation, Squamish tribe. He lives on the Capilano Reservation in North Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2007, he was 25 years old. He was taught by his father, Richard Baker. He carves traditional Coast Salish wall plaques.
Wood Carver, Sculptor
Bjorn Banke grew up on an island in Clayoquot Sound near Tofino, British Columbia. As a child, Bjorn spent much of his time in the workshop watching his father carve. Carving was encouraged. Being allowed to use his father’s tools, Bjorn’s carving skills grew, along with his understanding of different characteristics of wood types and uses of carving tools. Carving of wood and the transfer of knowledge from father to son continued a three-generation history in the Banke family.
Bjorn devotes his carving skills to capturing the light and movement in his wood carvings along with devoting his time to skillfully finishing each piece. A carving that once might have been finished in a day, now takes Bjorn months to bring into perfection and to bring out its inner spirit.
Troy Bellerose was born in Picture Bute, Alberta, located near Lethbridge on April 7, 1970. He belongs to the Cree nation, which traditionally inhabits the central region of the country, also known as the plains.
Although Troy is not of West Coast heritage, but became very fascinated with the art form after befriending a few West Coast First Nations artists. One of them was Andrew Morrison, a member of the Nisga’a nation. Andrew taught Troy the basics of carving the West Coast style; mainly the form, shapes and balance needed to achieve an overall design. Troy has become experienced in a very short period of time. He has developed into a versatile artist using red and yellow cedar as his medium.
Troy has taken up the art of mask carving under the guidance of Art Bolton, an artist belonging to the Haisla nation. He embodies the talent and guidance of an artist beyond his years and he continues to expand his knowledge and skill.
One beautiful summer morning, we were anchored out just below Robsin Bight on the east side of Vancouver Island. A pod of Killer Whales was spotted slowly cruising our way. They had just wondered through an excited group of kayakers who could of reached out and touched them they were so close. As they approached the boat I had a camera ready to capture the beauty and serenity of the moment for our kids to always remember that magical moment during third youth.
Wood Carver Brian Bob lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and is Snawnaw’as Coast Salish Nation. Brian Bob’s Indian name is Qwuyutsapool, a Nuu-chah-nulth derived traditional name which translates in English to ‘policer of the wolves’.
Brian honours the heritage of both his mother and father in his work. His mother, Fran Touchie, is from the Nuu-chah-nulth nation which practiced whaling from traditional dugout cedar canoes on the rugged West Coast of Vancouver Island.
It is also out of respect and honour for his father, Wilson Bob, the hereditary chief of the Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose Bay) Nation, that urges Brian to humbly aspire to return to native teachings.
Through the mediums of wood, gold and silver, Brian captures the spirit of Northwest Coast Native Art.
Respect for a circular way of life has been taught in his family. The gift each creature brings to the world is honoured by his work.
‘Aspire to be One’ is a concept in which Brian wishes to demonstrate the significance of ‘Oneness with the Creator’ and ‘Oneness with all Life’.
Heritage – Coast Salish
Joe Bob was born in Nanaimo, B.C. to Joseph and Dorothy Bob. Joe credits William Good, Alfred Robertson, and Francie Horn for teaching him to become a carver. He credits William Good for inspiring him to bring out his natural talents as a carver. He has been carving since 1981. His village is located in Nanoose Bay just outside Nanaimo B.C. He comes from a family of carver, his uncles, and brothers are all traditional First Nation carver. Joe Bob grew up in Seattle, Victoria, and Nanaimo, he is also a fisherman and logger but spends most of his time as a carver.
Noel Brown is a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, located on the East Coast of Vancouver Island. Noel has his Great Grandfathers traditional name Yutsatsa, along with his given name Noel. he is very proud of for traditional name, as his Great Grandfather is still talked about in traditional Coast Salish ceremonies to this day. Noel’s Grandfathers, Ed Brown and Willy Lewis were both well established artists, along with many Aunts and Uncles on both sides of the family, which exposed Noel to the culture and art. James Christopher Lewis, Noel’s Uncle, is his biggest inspiration and was a very influential person in his life. After James passed, two other uncles, Mathew & Richard Baker took Noel under their wings and really taught Noel the art and the true cultural meanings of the creatures he carves today.
Carving professionally since 1995, Noel’s art can be found worldwide in galleries and private collections alike.
Noel lives in Cedar, BC, just south of Nanaimo on traditional Snuneymuxw First Nation lands with his wife and three boys, Marvin, Paddy, and Richie.
Ralph, a member of the Wolf Clan, was born in 1944 to the Tshimshian Nation of the Gitskan village of Kispiox, B.C. Ralph has always been interested with Tsimshian art form which portrays the history of his people. As a young boy he was fascinated with the great totem poles of his village and carved small ones as a hobby. He did not seriously pursue the native art form until 1983 when he was introduced to silver engraving. Ralph has developed his own technique and has become a very accomplished and respected engraver. Ralph’s silver and gold jewellery is held in many private collections and continues to be sold in retail shops and galleries throughout B.C. When he has the time,Ralph enjoys playing golf as a hobby.
Born in 1948, Joseph was raised on Musqueam land in Vancouver, BC and over the years has raised his own family in Vancouver. His ancestral name is Katxalacha and it was handed down to him from the Paul family of the Squamish Nation situated in North Vancouver.
Joseph took an early interest in carving and had the opportunity to observe his late father, Sylvester, who carved culturally significant ceremonial masks and house posts, using the traditional Coast Salish form line. Joseph’s late brother Danny Campbell gave him his first carving knife and also demonstrated numerous carving techniques and styles, including the structured and complex northern form line, a style which Joseph continues to use in most of his work.
Joseph began carving small scale works, swiftly progressing to larger scale, with objects such as talking sticks, masks and panels. Consequently, Joseph commenced designing and building bentwood boxes under the guidance of his good friend and mentor, master bentwood box carver, Larry Rosso. Since that apprenticeship, Joseph has progressed steadily with his range of expertise and precision in perfecting his design and carving techniques. He continues to create more finely crafted and complex pieces with each completed work. Campbell not only furthers his carving techniques through his practical skills, but also drives himself to improve his knowledge of design, working in contemporary media to advance and broaden his artwork.
Campbell studied Advanced Design with Master Haida artist Robert Davidson, and has worked with instructor George Rammel at Capilano College on the art of bronze casting. As Campbell’s artwork continues to thrive, many collectors has developed a strong affinity for his work; his bentwood boxes can be found in collections across Europe, United States, Canada, Asia, and the South Pacific.
Charlotte Carpenter was born in Bella Bella BC, and is of the Raven and Wolf family. When she married Vince McKay, of the Nuu Chah Nulth, she learned to harvest, cure and weave grass baskets from Mary McKay, and Ellen McKay. She has mastered her art and offers classes to bands and schools in the Port Alberni area.
When Charlotte began weaving, like so many, she was taught to weave with a square mat, from “three corner” grass. As she developed her skills, she began to weave her bases using a finer technique, with no square mat.
All too often, we ignore our inevitable ending!
“Culturally speaking”, First Nations people continue to be aware of the concept of death as being a part of life, but death as “we” know is not the end, only a transition from this world.
This particular mask holds a more significant interpretation, one related to “change”, the change that we are all capable of making for ourselves. Positive change although seemingly difficult can be achieved and our culture provides many teachings on this subject.
Take for instance, the “taming” of the “Wildman” and how the analogy can be transferred into today’s thinking. There are steps and tools utilized to make a “Wildman” less wild or to become tamed.
It is in the process and with much support and effort, but it is possible.
Annie was born at Dodgers Cove. She was taught how to weave by her mother, May Williams. She has been weaving for the past 47 tears. She is from the Ohiaght Band, which is located at Pachena Bay. Annie was born June 23, 1922 and grew up at Sarita River. She attended residential School in Port Alberni. Her grandchildren are also artists. Harry Willimas is one of her grandson’s and is a renowned carver. Marie Newfield is her granddaughter and is a basket weaver and carries on what was taught to her as a young girl. Annie’s parents are Dan and May Williams. She comes from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nation. She is fluent in her Native Language and sings traditional songs. She comes from a chief’s family. Annie’s basketwork is a great example of true art form and is to many of us a sure collectors dream.
Started in the spring of 1999 by Chris and Jessica Cook, Tsuna Studios has since set new standards for contemporary aboriginal jewelry by blending traditional northwest coast designs with innovative metal working techniques and stone setting. “T’suna” means thunderbird in the Kwakwaka’wakw language and is the clan that Chris, a Chief of Nimgis ancestry, belongs to. Chris was an avid sketch artist in his youth and was studying to be a metal machinist until his family re-directed him into academia. In 1998, he relieved his bachelor of Humanities from the University of Victoria. During his academic studies he took a beginning silversmith course at Comosun college.
After his academic studies were completed, Chris began combing his metal working knowledge, jewelry making techniques and knowledge of traditional native culture to produce some of the pieces that T’suna Studios now offers. Chris plans to continue to pursue his academic career into the graduate and decorate levels but for the time being he is content on working with his wife Jessica refining the T’suna Studios art form.
Jessica, whose ancestry includes both Gitksan and Tsimahian nations, has worked extensively in the art world since she was very young. In her youth Jessica was a passionate photographer, singer, dancer, stage performer, writer and carver. Later, she worked in and managed a Native Art Gallery. This included working closely with native artists purchasing and selling their artwork, curating art shows, and managing art workshops. Jessica took he knowledge of high artistic standards, design, marketing, and management with her when she and her husband Chris started T’suna Studios in 1999, She has since designed and helped design some of the rich pieces that T’suna Studios has to offer always pushing for excellence in quality, materials, and customer satisfaction. Jessica is currently completing her undergraduate at the University of Victoria and is considering studying medicine.
William Cook was born at Alert Bay, B.C. to Karen & William Cook, on June 23rd, 1974. He credits Henry Nelson & Patty Seaweed for teaching him the art of engraving silver & gold. He has been carving silver since 1992. He was inspired by his grandfather, Gus Matilpi to become the artist he is today. Often referred to as “Home of the Killer Whale”, The Village of Alert Bay is located at the top of Johnstone Strait on Cormorant Island, a crescent shaped island three miles in length and a half mile wide. The oldest community on northern Vancouver Island, Alert Bay was once a key trading post for First Nations people and merchant mariners. The island was named after a coastal cruiser, the H.M.S. Cormorant in 1846. Alert Bay derived its name from the H.M.S. Alert, which was stationed on the northwest coast in 1858.
Today, Alert Bay has a population of about 1,500 comprised of the Village of Alert Bay, the ‘Namgis First Nation and Whe-la-la-u and Area Council. The island is accessible by a 30 minute ferry ride which departs six times as day from Port McNeill.
The area is rich in aboriginal history and is primarily populated by the Kwakwaka’wakw people. The U’mista Cultural Centre is an internationally-known facility that houses one of the finest collections of historical artifacts depicting the Potlatch Ceremony of the Kwakwaka’wakw. Ruins of native villages and culturally modified trees can be found on nearby islands.
Doug was born in Seattle Washington in 1971. His mother is Sandra Bluehorse from Sisseton-Wappiton Nakota, North Dakota USA. His father is Joe David from Tla o qui aht. B.C. Canada. “Both my parents are artists, so I don’t really have a definite starting point for my career, I have always been around art, and a lot of my early drawings, I’ve been told, were images mimicking the art being created around me by my parents. My father went in another direction from his family when I was 3 yrs. old. So, I was predominately schooled by my mother in her traditional ways of the plains Indians. This meant a lot of 2nd painting and construction art like dream catchers, rawhide par fleche’s, painted shields, and leather and beadwork. My first outlet for commercial art was at the Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington at the age of twelve with my mom. I spent a few summers growing up with my father off of Tofino, where my father’s people have lived for thousands of years. He had two cabins, the main house, and a private room/cabin, on an isolated island belonging to our people. It was here at age 8 that my father first began teaching me the stories that demand these images as well as the care of and use of these tools. The knives and adzes and mauls and chisels. My father was a determined worker and had the opportunity to see many incredible images emerge from rough blocks of ancient cedar. These are some of the moments that I flashback to from time to time. I have been an artist my whole life, but it is only part of me. I have lived and traveled from Alaska to Hawaii and from California to the Dakotas, along the way learning the local forms of expression. I have most enjoyed aside from carving cedar, making Pahu drums from coconut trees to sell to the art market as well as hula halau’s – native dance schools, of Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu.
Located twenty miles below the Alaskan border is the Coast Tsimishian village of Lax Kwa’alaams. Connie is a Raven of this village also known as Port Simpson. After graduating from high school in Prince Rupert where she was born and raised, Connie attended the Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast native Art in Hazelton, BC for two years. On completion of the course, wood carving became her medium of choice. Once Connie and her husband Art had their three children, she decided to try and develop her drawing skills. Drawing has become the main focus of her artistic pursuits. She now lives in Campbell River.
Etulu is from Cape Dorset located on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Nunavut Territory. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population are Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years.
Baffin Island is a mighty landscape of mountain ranges, icecaps, glacial valleys and open Tundra. Cape Dorset is world famous as the centre of the Inuit Art.
Artie George, great nephew of Chief Dan George, is a Coast Salish woodcarver. Born in North Vancouver in 1970, he is from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (Burrard Band). Artie began carving at the age of 13 and is mainly self-taught. The relentless dedication that he brings to his art and the quiet grace which accompanies that dedication has awarded Artie respect from his peers as a carver of fine detail.
Artie participates in aboriginal events and major juried craft shows. His art can be found in collections around the world and also within establishments for the visual arts, such as the world famous Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the UBC museum of Anthropology and the Smithsonian Native American Museum in Washington D.C.
Noted recipients of his work include National Chief Phil Fontaine, Assembly of First Nations (Canada); George Erasmus, Co-Chair of the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples (Canada); Grand Chief Ed John, First Nations Summit (BC); Chief Leonard George, Burrard Band; and the Hon. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India.
Through his art, Artie George expresses visually what his great uncle embodied in the words and deeds of his life; the face of our own humanity, at one with nature and the great spirit within it.
Carmen Goertzen (Tlaajang Nung Kingaass) was born in June 1963 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Raised and educated in Massett, Queen Charlotte Islands, from the young age of eleven, carving has been Carmen’s main interest. Robert Davidson, an internationally acclaimed Haida artist instructed Carmen in making his own carving tools.
Carmen is not only involved in making Northwest Coast Native jewelry and wood items, but he is interested in photography and silk-screening. In 1987, Carmen began carving on a serious note using wood, stone and metal, with a particular emphasis on carving gold, silver and argillite.
In 1991, he was named hereditary Chief of Dadens on the Queen Charlotte Islands and held a highly anticipated Potlatch, a representation of high status within his family ancestry. Presently, Carmen resides in Vancouver but keeps a strong connection with his relatives living in Massett.
Carmen’s distinctive style embodies depth, dimension and a traditional style that surpasses most. For these reasons his jewelry pieces and masks are sought-after by many collectors of Northwest Coast Native artwork.
Alex is of the Tsimshian Nation. His great grandfather, Henry William Helin, was chief of the Gitlan Tribe, and his great grandmother, Maud Helin, was chieftan of the Gitsees Tribe, from the Village of Fort Simpson, B.C. Alex is the son of master carver and painter Bill Helin who has passed on his knowledge and skills to Alex. Alex is a young and upcoming artist that is sure to be a success, at 17 years old he has demonstrated great skill and passion for his work and will carry his Tsimshian traditions with him for the next generation to enjoy.
Bill is of the Tsimshian Nation. His grandfather, Henry William Helin, was chief of the Gitlan Tribe, and his grandmother, Maud Helin, was chieftan of the Gitsees Tribe, from the Village of Fort Simpson, B.C. “I was always intrigued by the stories my granny Helin used to tell. She was always encouraging me to learn traditions and most importantly the art forms, so as to pass them onto future generations or they would die.”
Bill & his family moved to Vancouver Island in 1973, where Bill graduated from high school winning the Michael Gergley Art Scholarship in 1979. He has since graduated from K’San College of British Columbia and The Institute of Gemology of America in Santa Monica, California.
He is considered a master jeweler, painter, & sculptor. His hand-carved gold & silver jewellery & fabulous paintings have been enjoyed internationally. “It’s a great feeling to have my works around the globe, but even more fulfilling is sharing the gift that God has given me with young people – they are our future. My children inspire me all the time with all their neat questions, love, laughter, and passion for life. Only with God’s infinite wisdom can I teach them the right things to do and with my own mistakes can I teach them what not to do. Unconditional love will see us through it all… gotta keep laughing.”
In 1994, Bill and a group of his friends built a Tshimshian canoe which will be on permanent display at the Ravensong Aquatic Centre in Qualicum Beach. The centre was named after Bill’s “Ravensong Canoe”. The canoe was carved out of a forty-foot long & six-foot wide cedar log. It was traditionally painted and paddled from Nanoose to Victoria for the Queen’s Baton Regatta during the Commonwealth Games. On the very same day of arriving in the harbour, the world’s tallest totem pole (180 feet) was raised; Bill and a number of other artists carved & raised it.
Recently, Bill designed the crests which were worn by the astronauts on the STS-78, 1196 Columbia mission in June of that year. Bill had two gold pendants and a bracelet on the shuttle 271 times around the Earth. Canadian astronaut, Bob Thirsk, wore a crest custom – made for him by bill. This is the first Native design ever incorporated into NASA’s space program.
Being an active parent of four, Bill teaches and plays with his kids in traditional and modern lifestyles. “My kids inspire me in a sun shiny way.”
His inspirations have moved him into illustrating and writing children’s books and paintings. “Children and young adults need better examples and education that is both cultural, exciting, and colorful.” Bill’s enthusiasm comes to life in his many images of life, now and then.
“Live with Passion & Creativity.”
George Hunt Jr.
George Hunt Jr. was born on April 30, 1958, in Campbell River, B.C. George descends from two families of internationally renowned Master Carvers and Artists that are both rich in culture and heritage. However, he has still managed to successfully develop his own unique and distinct style that is reflected in each piece of art that he creates.
George is from the prominent family of master Carvers including the late Mungo Martin, the late Henry Hunt, and also has many talented relations on both sides, too great a number to list here. At an early age, he learned to carve from his father, George Hunt Sr.
He apprenticed under his maternal grandfather, the late Sam Henderson, of the Nakwaxdaxw Tribe of Blunden Harbor. George Jr. s mother, Mary Henderson Hunt is the eldest of Sam and May Henderson’s fifteen children. Georges many uncles, aunts, and cousins share in carrying on the traditional carving and artistic legacy left to them by the late Sam Henderson.
Sam was not only a Master carver but also a respected elder for his knowledge of the songs, legends and ceremonial meanings of the masks, totems and other regalia that George Jr. continues to carve and create.
Stan C. Hunt
Stan C Hunt is the youngest son of a master carver, Henry Hunt and worked at his studio in Fort Rupert, BC. His grandfather, Mungo Martin is widely credited with saving Kwakwaka’wakw art from extinction in the early part of the century. Mungo Martin also provided the link with tradition for the family; from his songs sung around the kitchen table to the extravagant ceremonies of the potlatch.
His father, Henry Hunt, was a renowned master carver who worked at the Royal British Columbia Provincial Museum in Victoria for many years. His older brothers, Tony and Richard Hunt, are among the leading artists in the Kwakwaka’wakw form. Stan was born in Victoria on September 25th, 1954 while his father was working for the Royal British Columbia Museum.
At the age of ten, Stan danced as a Hamatsa for the first time, it was then that he understood the importance to learn and acknowledge the rituals of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. When Stan was younger he carved toy boats and canoes. In 1976 he went to see his father Henry in his carving shed and asked if he could be a carver. His father replied, “The first thing you have to do is make your own tools.” With the support, encouragement, and guidance from his father, he spent the next three years learning knife techniques and carving plaques for the Victoria tourist trade. He also assisted his father in the carving of six totem poles. Stan’s interpretation of the Kwakwaka’wakw style is starkly traditional. No power tools or sandpaper are used. Only the traditional tools, the adze, curved knife, and straight knife are used.
The images are original but with traditional roots in stories of the Kwakwaka’wakw people; images passed down from one generation to the next. He spends numerous hours in his studio teaching young artists what he learned from his father. He has great patience and is a mentor to those who work with him and takes his responsibility seriously, ensuring that the apprentices remain dedicated to quality and remain traditional within the cultural boundaries while expressing their own artistic talent.
In the summer of 2008, Stan completed three-foot totem poles for a private commission in Australia. He also carved a 15′ totem, a 6′ totem and a 4 1/2′ totem that will be installed on a 197′ yacht, a first of this type of project for him, but he is confident that the concept will be well received in the yachting community.*
*Quoted from Stan Hunt’s website.
Ron was born in Prince Rupert, B.C. to Robert and Gayle Jackson on October 23, 1971. Ron credits his dad and the Oldman Edenshaw from the Queen Charlottes for inspiring him and teaching him to become a carver. His mother is Tsimshian and his father is from Kitwanga.
He has four brothers and one sister in his immediate family. He is married and has two little girls whom he cherishes.
Ron attended school at Hazelton, B.C. & finished at Prince Rupert, B.C. He grew up, for the most part, in Hazelton & Prince Rupert. He has been carving for the past 23 years and it has become his only source of income. His great, great Uncle Arthur Mcdames was also an artist. Ron devotes a lot of his time trying to improve his work and enjoys being an artist.
Born in 1958 and raised in North Vancouver, B.C.; Stewart’s first throw was in 1979. Each of his pots are an original work of art. Stewart’s pottery is held in many private collections all over the world. When he’s not busy working with pottery he enjoys playing in a rock & roll band. When he was in high school he passed by the pottery class and instantly took a keen interest in what was being produced. He enrolled in the class and his teacher encouraged him to put his native designs on the pottery, he hasn’t looked back since. He is a member of the Squamish Nation and is of the Coast Salish ancestry. Every pot that he throws has a very uplifting and unique quality which is enjoyed by all.
As with John Jacobson’s carving, the quality of the sculpture is foremost. He stresses sculpture in the round as a real interest and aim in his work. Johnny rarely over concentrated on fine finishing; rather, he focused on allowing his patrons to see the process of his work. Johnny saw himself as a sculptor not a carver. His work speaks to this. It is the sculptural quality of his work that continues to be of interest and attraction to students and collectors.
Johnny Jacobson carved countless red and yellow cedar paddles. He also carved a long stream of poles depicting a Thunderbird, Whale and Serpent. However, he only made a handful of staffs, with serpents entwined round them. Some people have only seen 5 of these sculptures carved by Johnny Jacobson. Johnny has left a vast historical information amalgamated Tribes. Johnny Jacobson saw action overseas and was wounded the Second World War. A Canadian Coast Guard vessel was named in his honor.
Dorothy was born on October 5th, 1945, in the capital city of Victoria, B.C. Her parents are Effie Tate and Kelly Peters. Her village is located on the Nitinaht Lake, she is from the Ditidaht tribe. She credits her mother Effie for teaching her how to weave baskets. Her brother Fred Peters is also an artist. She attended school at the Port Alberni Residence School. She grew up in Clo-oose Bay on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Dorothy is keeping the culture alive which is very important for the Nuu Chah Nulth Nation. The art of basket weaving in the Nuu Chah Nulth area has been slowly disappearing amongst various families. It is a joy to see Dorothy working and keeping an art form alive that has been around long before European contact.
Heritage — Coast Salish
Roger Johnnie was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia in 1984.
When Roger was a young boy he enjoyed watching his uncle, the renowned artist Francis Horne, carve. Later, in his teens, he took even greater interest in the art forms of his ancestors. He began to carve under the watchful eye of Jackson Robinson, an established artist. Later, Roger studied with Gino Seward to hone his skills.
Roger primarily carves plaques but has expanded his skills and now also carves masks and sculpture.
Lena is a member of the Ahousat tribe which is located about 12 miles northwest of Tofino. Lena has been weaving baskets for most of her life. She is one of the few weavers of today that has the knowledge to still weave the traditional Maquinna Hat. She also makes baskets of many sorts. She weaves a basket which the natives used for carrying different items such as berries, wood, seafood, and ferns. These are called Kahoots. There is a strap that covers the forehead and the basket is strung behind the back, all made of cedar bark. The Maquinna hats that she makes are also made of cedar bark. This hat was only worn by the men and was given the name Maquinna because the great Chief Maquinna wore this hat. This was originally a Whalers hat and was worn by all the whalers on the hunt for whales. The whales were towed to shore, butchered, and all the meat was used to feed the entire tribe. Lena is fluent in the Nuu Chah Nulth language and takes a lot of time to share her knowledge with the younger generation. She is very active in keeping our culture alive, sharing her knowledge to those who ask.
Johnny is from the city of Iqaluit which is located on Baffin Island at the northern end of Frobisher Bay near the mouth of the Sylvia Grinnell River.
Iqaluit is the territorial capital of Nunavut, the largest and fastest-growing community in the territory. ‘Iqaluit’ means ‘place of many fish’ in Inuktitut. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population are Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years.
Iqualuit is a mighty landscape of mountain ranges, icecaps, glacial valleys and open Tundra. Iqualuit is world famous as the centre of the Inuit Art.
Richard is from the Coast Salish Nation, Squamish tribe. He was born in 1955 and was taught by master carver Floyd Joseph. He carves Coast Salish wall Plaques and totems.
Soapstone / Serpentine Artists
Serpentine Stone comes in a staggering variety of colors. The variations in color are the results of varied mineral infusions in the stone. The name has been derived from the color and appearances of the stone which resembles the skin of a serpent. The best quality Serpentine has fine textures with no cleavages. Serpentine is the most common stone in use with varying hardness. Most Sculptors select the harder and more durable serpentine for sculpting. The harness ranges from 2.5 – 5.5 on Mohs Scale. In healing usage, Serpentine is very powerful. It aids the cleaning of blocked areas, brings the Chakras back in balance and also is very beneficial for the heart Chakra. Its properties promote good luck and helps people in achieving their dreams and desires.
The notable areas where deposits of serpentine occur are:
New Zealand, South Africa, England, United States of America and China
Donald Lyle Lancaster was born in Hazelton B.C. May 31, 1965 to Herbert and Doreen Lancaster. Although he was born is Hazelton, he belongs to the Nimkish tribe located in Alert Bay B.C. Alert Bay is located about 70 miles from the northwest tip of Vancouver Island. Don credits Norman Seaweed for teaching him the basics of carving. He was inspired by his grandmother, uncles and mother to become an artist. His brother John is also a carver and Don works very close with him. Don attended school in Alert Bay and finished his schooling in Victoria, B.C. He relies on his carving for his employment and is 100 percent committed to his work. He has been carving since 1984 and will continue evolving the art for many years to come.
John Lancaster was born in Alert Bay, which is a fishing village located along the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island. He is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. John takes the Wolf, revered as a powerful hunter on land, and the Sun, an element that exists in many legends, as his family crest symbols.
John Lancaster has been making First Nations design jewelry since 1986 and notes that his cousin Alfred Seaweed was instrumental in teaching him the skills of silver and gold jewelry carving. Coming from a family of expert goldsmiths, John’s skills and expertise is revealed in the beautiful jewelry he creates. His designs depict traditional Kwagiulth motifs and legendary creatures.
He presently resides in Victoria, to be near his family and close to his roots. He is one of many Northwest Native artists who are preserving their heritage through artwork.
In 1969, David Louis was born into the Squamish band of the Coast Salish Nation located in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He reveals that it was natural transition to begin carving as a teenager since he’s from a large family of proven Salish carvers. He lists Darren Louis, Peter Charlie and William Watts as his teachers. With his strong perception in expressing the natural richness of First Nations’ people, Davis continues to expand and develop his talent as a Salish designer.
George was born October 11, 1971 in Tofino, BC. He is a member of the Tla o Qui aht First Nations Tribe, located directly across from Tofino on Mears Island. The name of his village is Opitsaht. He has been carving for 6 years, inspired by Bruce Williams. He grew up in Opitsaht and later moved to Nanaimo where he attended school. His parents are Ray and Emily Williams. He lives a single life and is proud to be a Nuu-Chah-Nulth member. He enjoys sports and also enjoys his culture. He presently resides in Opitsaht where he carves eagles, thunderbirds and ravens. His carvings have gone all over the world. He is an up and coming artist who shows real talent as a Native carver.
Artist George Matilpi was born in Alert Bay, B.C., and is a member of the Carrier Nation. At age 45, he has been carving for about twenty years. Taught by Amos Dawson, Chief of the Carrier Nation, George Matilpi carves exceptional and traditional Kwakiult wood plaques. He employs the traditional black, red, and turquoise color scheme on unstained cedar wood. Within this traditional framework, Matilpi creates innovative and charismatic animal plaques with personality.
In addition to practicing his art, Matilpi is helping to insure its continuation by teaching young carvers in Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle.
Jim McGuire was born in Queen Charlotte City in 1947. From early childhood he displayed an astonishing artistic ability. He spent many hours watching fine old Haida craftsman carving in argillite. The beauty of their work made a deep impression on Jim, and he would soon be carving the precious slate himself. He faithfully included the ancient Haida figures on the totems but interpreted them in his own unique style.
He not only carved in argillite but also learned to work in gold and silver, engraving beautiful Haida designs with an elegance of line and attention to detail that makes each completed piece a work of art and a coveted collector’s item. He is related to the famed Haida carver Charles Edenshaw and is acknowledged to be one of the outstanding Haida artists of our time.
George James Mckay
George is from the Eagle Tribe of the Nisga’a Nation. He originates from Greenville, one of the four Nisga’a villages along the Nass River, in Northern British Columbia.
George first developed an interest in Northwest Coast First Nations Art at an early age. He started by assisting his father, the late Patterson McKay. By the time he reached his teens, he was carving on his own; but his carving was looked upon as a hobby while he received a formal education.
It has been ten years since George decided to pursue his dream of becoming a full- time carver. His work has advanced to a world – class caliber.
George works only with wood, as his passion resides in carving Totem Poles and masks. However, he is always willing to fill requests for items such as spoons, bowls, wall plaques and traditional regalia.
Mark Mickey was born in a village on the West Coast of Vancouver Island called Hesquiat, located about 40 miles northwest of Tofino, B.C. He was born April 5, 1956, to Charlie and Caroline Mickey. Mark credits his late mother and father for inspiring and teaching him to be a carver. He’s been carving since 1968 where he took a keen interest in the traditional art of Nuu-chah-nulth people. Mark has created his own technique in carving which clearly shows whenever he has finished a piece. His parents were both artists which gave him a tremendous benefit to his teachings of traditional ways. It is now Mark’s turn to pass on the knowledge to his family. Mark grew up and attended school in the village of Tofino where his parents lived and worked. All of Mark’s work is done by hand and he is quickly building a reputation as one of the feature Nuu-chah-nulth artists. He prefers to carve hardwoods and most enjoys carving bowls and masks.
Fred a Tlingit native from the Yukon was born in 1957. He has always been interested in art and in the evolution of artistic style. Fred is a creative perfectionist and his jewelry reflects a high quality that captures the pride of his heritage. His exquisite work has caught the eyes of media and collectors internationally. Fred always used to sketch in pencil and then he began to do wood carvings. He now prefers to work in high carat gold and silver and his favorite work is with challenging designs. He likes exotic concepts in metals like mokume (laminating layers of metals together the engraving them so that different layers show through) and granulation. His next challenge will be to work with enameling. In many ways he keeps his art within the bounds of Tlingit native styles, but as an artist who has studied the history and methodology of jewelry making, he’s added some changes. Much of his work has more than the flatter, two-dimensional look of traditional designs which helps interpret the work to the non-native viewer. Fred believes he hasn’t moved away from the traditional style, but he’s expanded on it. He thinks art should be alive and evolving, not stagnating.
Gilbert was born in November 1945 in the Fraser Valley town of Sardis and is a member of the Coast Salish people. Educated in Mission City, he moved after graduation to the Kwakiutal Village of Alert Bay 60 miles from the northern tip of Vancouver Island.
For a number of years, he was employed as a carpenter and commercial fisherman. He is married to Frances Shaughnessy of the well-known and highly respected family of Alert Bay and has three children.
He was inspired by and taught silver engraving by a member of the Seaweed and Shaughnessy families, Lloyd Wadhams of Kingcome inlet, who is recognized as one of the truly outstanding carvers, not only in silver and gold but also in wood. Gilbert’s style, the fine details and craftsmanship of his work, is rapidly making him one of the most sought-after artists of the entire coast.
Gilbert’s two sons have followed in his footsteps and both have taken up the art of silver engraving. Gilbert lives in the city of Victoria, where he works full time as an engraver.
Jeffery Pat was born in Alert Bay, B.C. Canada in 1969. His parents are Gilbert and Francis Pat (Nee Shaugnessy). His father originates from Hope B.C. and his mother originates from Alert Bay, part of the Kwaquiulth Nation. Jeff moved from Alert Bay to Victoria at the age of nine where he attended school. He graduated from Belmont High School in 1990 located in the community of Langford B.C. Jeffery credits his father for inspiring and teaching him to become a silversmith. He started to carve as soon as he graduated from school and relies on this ability for a living. He is married to Angelique and has two daughters Michelle and Ashley Renee.
Tom was born in the city of Victoria, B.C. on May 8, 1979. He is from the Hesquiaht Tribe which is located about 40 miles northwest of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. His father Tim Paul grew up in the village of Ehattesaht, where his mother comes from. Tom credits his father for inspiring and teaching him to be a carver. His uncle Patrick Amos is also a carver. Tom attended most of his schooling in the city of Victoria where he also grew up. He has been carving seriously for the past 4 years. Tom has been educated by his father about the history and culture of Nuu Chah Nulth people since the young age of 4. Tom’s masks are now being sought after my museums and art collectors around the world. It is exciting to see our youth taking a good direction in keeping our heritage alive!
Kakee is from Cape Dorset located on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Nunavut Territory. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population are Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years.
Baffin Island is a mighty landscape of mountain ranges, icecaps, glacial valleys and open Tundra. Cape Dorset is world famous as the centre of the Inuit Art.
Jerrod Pinder lives on Vancouver Island with his wife and two children. He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the age of 7, he settled with his family to Vancouver Island, and upon moving he instantly fell in love with the West Coast.
Jerrod’s career began in engineering design, and manufacturing for over a decade. He began to work with other artists over the years, combining technical design with art. He became known as a custom metal artist, being able to take objects and drawings and make them into physical artwork. Several Commissions were done for a variety of clients across North America and Europe. Many of Jerrod’s designs are inspired for his love for the ocean and wildlife on Vancouver Island. Jerrod is an avid sport fisherman, and many of his designs reflect his passion for the West Coast.
Jerrod works with a variety of metals, woods, and other materials to make his artwork. His metalwork’s come in a number of finishes including clear, black, and patina.
Joanie is from Cape Dorset located on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Nunavut Territory. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population is Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years.
Baffin Island is a mighty landscape of mountain ranges, icecaps, glacial valleys and open Tundra. Cape Dorset is world famous as the centre of the Inuit Art.
In 1985 Justin was 21 and planning a career as a mechanic, but the automotive program was full. His father, being actively involved in west coast native communities, introduced him to Ray Dumont, a local native artist, and Ray suggested he try carving. Through the 90’s, Justin carved part time. The rest of his time was spent working in different BC art galleries, deepening his understanding of the art world, and interacting with local artists. Today, demand for Justin’s work has grown to the point where he carves full time. Justin’s style has a combination of influences. He was born and has lived his whole life on the west coast of British Columbia, and his native ancestry is Cree. He fluctuates between west coast and plains styles. Each offers its own unique quality, stories and history. “When I create a new piece, I always picture the wearer in mind. My job is to produce jewellery that makes the wearer feel good. Many of my favorite pieces came from custom requests, because I had a specific wearer in mind, and was able to shape the piece to that person’s personality and taste. I never would have guessed that I would enjoy carving so much. There is something incredibly satisfying about a craft that combines the delicacies of design with the power of carving with the technique of assembly. I enjoy experimenting with materials. I work in gold and silver, and combinations of the two. I work with precious and semi-precious stones, in a variety of settings. I love finding the perfect way to combine stylish, modern jewellery designs with traditional native art.”
Descended from chiefs of the Weiwakum First Nation, Troy Roberts has been immersed in his native cultural heritage since he was a small boy when he learned about the dances and myths of his people under the disciplined guidance of the late Elizabeth Kwaksistala. Troy now carries on this tradition with his sons, Tyrone and Nathan. Troy’s artistic talent came to light at a very young age when he was inspired by the most stylistically inventive artist of his time, the late Willie Seaweed. Although he has since pursued other careers, his achievements in carving over the last 20 years have opened doors to the rediscovery of his native heritage. In 1993, he was involved in the creation of the canoe “KlineeQwala” (Lightning Speed) and was part of the crew (stern-most figure) who paddled it from Campbell River to the Qatuwas Festival in Bella Bella, some 270 miles away.
Troy’s favorite carved pieces are the transformation figures which bring two images together in one mask. Each piece is operated by strings within the masks; the beaks clap loudly during the dance ceremony to punctuate the powerful performance. Troy is a careful and precise artist whose work reflects his concern for perfection of line and shape. Even the insides of his masks reveal the same sensitive precision as the outer forms, hollowed out in smooth planes and clean lines, mirroring the sculptural features of the mask fronts. The colors Troy chooses are of the same character as the distinctive style of carving he has developed – bold and strong yet sensitively identified with the unique piece he has chosen to carve. Troy feels a great peace within when he is carving these masks. He says… “There is nothing more satisfying than creating a mystical spirit of my culture out of something so natural as a block of wood.”
Now married and with two young sons, Troy’s career as a freelance carver and artist is growing quickly. Many of his pieces are part of private and museum collections in both Canada and the United States.
Robert Rufus was born on northern Vancouver Island in Alert Bay. His native band is Kwagiulth. Robert spent much of his childhood in the Victoria area on southern Vancouver Island. Robert has been carving for the last five years, mostly in cedar. Robert acknowledges Gary Thomas for inspiring and teaching his carving techniques. Robert enjoys carving as it helps him get in touch and share his rich cultural heritage.
Johnny is from Cape Dorset located on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Nunavut Territory. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population are Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years.
Joe is from Cape Dorset located on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Nunavut Territory. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population are Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years.
Marie’s tribal affiliation is with the Uchuklesaht nation located in the Barkley Sound. She was raised with strong traditional values and beliefs, and culture. Marie’s medium is the art of cedar bark and grass weaving; she was groomed by her grandmother Ellen Rush from her early childhood. Marie not only learned just how to weave but also the enduring task of picking and processing the different materials needed for the oncoming year. She was taught the great respect and customs that go along with this, such as praying and thanking the Creator for the gifts that are bestowed upon us, and to take only what is needed. When Marie was sixteen, her grandmother passed, and being the eldest daughter, she was now obligated to fulfill other roles in the family, which in turn weaving had been put on the back shelf. At the age of fifty or so, although she had not weaved in all the time since, Marie had found a calling, she returned home to Uchucklesaht, re-inspired she began to seek her path she left, thus her journey as a cedar, grass weaver, and now at age 63, a teacher, a grandmother, she continues to grow, to learn, aspire, and challenge herself to push her limits and excel. Not only in weaving but everything she does today in her life.
Derald was born in Garden Bay, B.C. in 1960 to Donald and Brenda Scoular. His native heritage is of Coast Salish decent, stemming from grandmothers on both sides, Rous and Page, and can be traced back to the Sechelt & Cowichan Indian Bands. His Cowichan grandmother’s traditional name was Chompawaan & her European name was Liza, Elisa. Derald grew up in Pender Harbor, B.C, and began carving Native art in 1980 under the guidance of carver Jean Brabrandt of Victoria & Uncle Randy Stiglitz of Vancouver. He then continued on developing his own technique & style. Derald has since carved several different types of masks & totem poles. These pieces are found throughout Canada, U.S.A. & Europe. Derald has worked on several projects including a 20-foot totem pole. He is continuing to challenge himself as an artist & carver.
Ann was born in Alert Bay BC, which is located about 70 miles from the Northwest tip of Vancouver Island. You need to catch a ferry from Port McNeil in order to get to Alert Bay which is situated on Cormorant Island. Her parents are Henry and Mable Seaweed. She belongs to the Nimpkish Nation. Ann credits Lloyd Wadhams for teaching and inspiring him to become the artist that she is. Her entire family is blessed with talent and all of them dabble in native arts and crafts. She attended school in the tiny community of Alert Bay.
Norman was born in Alert Bay B.C which is located about 70 miles from the Northwest tip of Vancouver Island. You need to catch a ferry from Port McNeil in order to get to Alert Bay which is situated on Cormorant Island. His parents are Henry and Mable Seaweed. He was born May 22, 1949, and belongs to the Nimpkish Nation. Norman credits Lloyd Wadhams for teaching and inspiring him to become the artist that he is. His entire family is blessed with talent and all of them dabble into native arts and crafts. He attended school in the tiny community of Alert Bay. He has been practicing his art since 1978.
Alashua is from Cape Dorset located on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Nunavut Territory. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1, 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory.
Most of the population is Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years. Baffin Island is a mighty landscape of mountain ranges, icecaps, glacial valleys and open Tundra. Cape Dorset is world famous as the centre of the Inuit Art.
Allan is from the city of Iqaluit which is located on Baffin Island at the northern end of Frobisher Bay near the mouth of the Sylvia Grinnell River. Iqaluit is the territorial capital of Nunavut, the largest and fastest-growing community in the territory. ‘Iqaluit’ means ‘place of many fish’ in Inuktitut. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population are Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years.
Iqualuit is a mighty landscape of mountain ranges, icecaps, glacial valleys and open Tundra. Iqualuit is world famous as the centre of the Inuit Art.
Steve’s roots originate from Oweekena Village and Campbell River, British Columbia. He belongs to the Kwaguilth nation. In 1988, at the age of 20, Steve was introduced to carving and painting by his father Harris Smith – Lalkawilas. After a lengthy apprenticeship, Steve branched out on his own. He has since developed his own innovative and distinct style of carved and painted works, which utilize traditional forms in a contemporary fashion.
Steve finds solace through his art. He feels fortunate to share his life with his wife Jenny and his daughter Rachel. Both are constant inspiration in his work and his daily life. Steve signs his work DLAKWAGILA which means “Made To Be Copper”. He carves his bowls out of Maple or Arbutus wood local to Vancouver Island. The bowls are sealed with a water based varythane then sanded, then painted with arcylic paint and finished with a beeswax finish.
Born in 1939, Jack Stogan is a self-taught carver who carves traditional style totem poles. He is from the Musqueam Nation from Fraser River in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Ekid is from Cape Dorset located on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Nunavut Territory. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population are Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years.
Gary was born in Victoria B.C. on April 29th, 1969 to his mother Blenda Thomas. Gary is Coast Salish and his village is located in the West Holm area. Gary was privileged to have several relatives that taught and inspired him to carry on with his family traditions. His uncles, Rodney Thomas and Joe Bob, were of special influence. Gary enjoys carving with wood; making totem poles, rattles and wall plaques. He has been carving steadily for the last seven years. Gary hopes to pass his knowledge to his three children.
Jim was born in the village of Ucluelet East located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, on October 22, 1956 to Sullivan Sr. and Faith Louie. Jim credits his late uncle Benett Touchie for inspiring and teaching him how to carve. He has been carving since 1984. Jim is from the Ucluelet First Nation Tribe which is one of the fourteen Nuu-chah-nulth Tribes of the West Coast of Vancouver Island. He grew up and attended school in the village of Ucluelet, and is also a logger, but now spends the majority of his time carving.
Jimmy is from Cape Dorset located on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic Nunavut Territory. Nunavat officially joined Canada on April 1 1999, becoming Canada’s newest territory. Most of the population is Inuit, a people whose ancestors have lived there for more than a thousand years. Baffin Island is a mighty landscape of mountain ranges, icecaps, glacial valleys and open Tundra. Cape Dorset is world famous as the centre of the Inuit Art.
Willie Wadhams is from the Kwagiulth Nation, and was born in 1966 in Alert Bay, British Columbia. He takes the Thunderbird and Sisiutl (double-headed sea serpent) as his family crest. In 1985, he carved under the guidance of his uncle, Ray Wadhams. Willie reveals that his family members who are prominent Northwest Coast carvers inspired him. Through his artwork, he’s trying to help preserve and bring awareness to his native culture. His carvings are shown in select Northwest Coast galleries and private collections worldwide.
Victor Michael West
Heritage – Tlingit/Cree
Victor Michael West is of Tlingit, Cree, and Irish ancestry and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Victor’s life began on a Yukon trap line. Seasonally nomadic, his family traveled consistently, to and from the Yukon and Edmonton and on to Forestburg, with summers on the west coast of Vancouver Island at Toquaht Bay. When his family settled down Victor continued to travel and spent most of his time in the bush, exploring the Kananaskis Valley, the Rocky Mountains, and the foothills. As a young adult, he circled back to the Yukon and then to the west coast where he prefers to be. His awareness of his ancestry grew from his experiences during his extensive travels.
While preferring red and yellow cedar, Victor works in many different mediums. His work depicts images of Eagles, Ravens, Killer Whales, Wolves, and others together with smaller Salmon-Trouthead designs. His carvings are inspired by the old Tlingit bentwood boxes.
All details of his work are meticulously carved in precise relief and finished with clean and sharp paintwork. He prides himself in his work which he pursues enthusiastically.
Francis was from the Ohiaht Tribe which is located about two hours from the town of Port Alberni, B.C. She was born at Sarita Bay which is also about a two-hour drive from Port Alberni. Francis resided in the village of Bamfield with her husband Alex, and credits her grandmother May Williams, for teaching & inspiring her to become a weaver.
Her grandmother began teaching Francis the art of traditional Nuu Chah Nulth weaving at the tender age of seven. The materials she used for weaving included sweetgrass, swamp grass, & cedar bark. The swamp grass is picked on the West Coast as is the cedar bark. The sweet grass comes from the Prairies.
Francis favorite design was the spiral lid design, the whale, the canoe, and the eagle with water snake on the back. She wove baskets for 31 years. There are fourteen Nuu Chah Nulth Tribes on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and Francis was without question the best weaver of all these tribes.
Francis shared a story of her mother’s, weaving 26 separate designs on a basket, which is unheard of today. The weaving that was taught to Francis has been passed down to her daughter’s & her grandchildren.
The Nuu Chah Nulth lost this very gifted woman in 1996. Her family held a memorial potlatch for Francis Williams on November 29, 1997.
Sanford Raymond Thomas Williams was born March 9, 1967 in Esperanza, B.C. to Ray and Terry Williams. His village, Friendly Cove, is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. He is of the Mowachaht tribe (The deer people), a tribe Captain Cook visited in the mid 1800’s. Even before graduation from high school in 1885 his dream was to become a master in wood carving. He was influenced by his grandfather, Jimmy John, who was a master carver on the west coast.
In 1988, Ksan, Hazelton. Since then he has carved masks (both human and animal), small poles, rattles, plaques, bentwood boxes and panels. He has also worked with master carvers such as Ken Mowatt and Vernon Stephen on totem projects. He now resides in the village Gitanmax, Hazelton where he is a full time carver.
John Wilson was born in Kitimat, BC and comes from the Haisla Nation. His crest is Killer Whale. He has lived in Terrace, BC since 1980. He has always been an artist at heart but had just learned how to carve in 2002 and has also taken a course in Terrace, BC taught by Heber Reece in 2004 and has finished his first year in the Freda Designing School of Northwest Coast art which is taught by Stan Bevan, Ken McNeil, and Dempsey Bob. John remembers being so amazed by paintings and regalia at a very young age. His influences are Robert Davidson, Dempsey Bob, Don Yeomans, Klatle-Bhi to name a few. His favorite medium is wood but also does original acrylics and prints and plans to try out other mediums like jewelry in the future. John has had commissions with the Spirit of the Kitlope Dance Group from the Haisla nation which is used for the traditional songs and dances. The commissions are Eagle mask, Killer Whale mask, two Beaver masks, and two Raven masks. He has also had numerous corporate commissions
“I believe that every piece of art that I produce is part of me. I put my heart and my soul into everything I create, which is why art is so important to me. I take it very seriously and will continue to do so. Art is a very important step I took in my life and will always have respect for it because it has guided me to the right steps in life.” ~ John Wilson.