With several generations of carvers in her family, Shirley has had insight into the skills of carving from an early age. Although having experimented in several different media, she prefers the traditional argillite, a rock found only on Haida Gwaii/ Queen Charlotte Islands. Her works are collected internationally and portray a Haida perspective of the North West Coast Totem themes.
Nancy is an accomplished jewellery designer/ producer and wood carver. She was born in Alert Bay on Northern Vancouver Island in September 1954. Her mother raised her in the “potlatch circle” which contributed greatly to her sound understanding of Kwaguitl art and culture. As a result, Nancy’s art has become her livelihood, which she now approaches with constant enthusiasm and professionalism. Today, Nancy’s work is actively sought by private collectors, museums, and galleries throughout North America.
Jim has been carving for 20 years, following a family tradition going back at least 65 years. His whalebone carvings are made from the jawbone of a sperm whale, found in a refuse pile of a whaling station that closed down in the 1940’s. His whalebone and antler carvings reflect his roots in the area of Newfoundland. Jim is of Métis roots.
Douglas (Hawkeye) Strickland
Doug lived in New Glasgow until the age of six. After arriving in Canada, he spent most of his younger years studying fine arts, ending up at CBC as Art Director designing and building sets for both television and movies. Later he changed sides of the camera and worked as an actor in the 1968 television series, “Hawkeye”. His character received this name because of his keen vision for universal peace and his ability to see trouble before it arrived. During his time at the show he studied First Nations Culture and traditional artifact designs. His skills earned him commissions for set and costume designs for the film industry. Doug Strickland now operates a rediscovery studio where non-native, Métis and Status Natives work together to learn, produce and preserve the methods of handcrafting Alberta local traditional art forms and crafts.
Mark is an Inuit stone carver and full time resident of Alberta, but was born and raised in the tiny Eastern Artic community of Hall Beach, Nunavut. A father of three, Mark has spent the majority of his working life as a heavy-duty mechanic in the remote Artic communities that comprised the DEW line early warning system. His ability as a carver earned him a full scholarship to the Banff School of Fine Arts in September 1994. A typical stone sculpture by Mark Totan is astonishingly lifelike. People, animals, and scenes from the North are characterized by the intricate attention to detail, which is the hallmark of true artisans. Mr. Totan claims this is a result of his ability to see into the rock. “I will spend hours just looking at the rock. I never know what I am going to carve ahead of time. Then… it will be just there as a bear, a walrus, or a person and I’ll start on the carving.”
Nokomis is an Ojibwa artist who resides in Calgary. She bases her paintings on her life and says, “I was born Ojibwa. I am still Ojibwa. It means I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. Love, anger, fear, melancholy, despair, hope, joy and whatever else are part of my day to day life as they are part of yours. I am a spiritual being, but my relationship with Manitou is no more or less significant than yours is with Jehovah, Mohammed, Buddha or Christ. My imagery is just as naïve and simple and even the colors I use are seldom complex. Each painting is a narrative about life in the bush more than fifty years ago. The message is that you’ve had your life and I’ve had mine; it’s only the props that have been different.”
Alfred was born in Chemainus on Vancouver Island in 1950. He is a fisherman by trade. He started carving in 1991 under the tutor of Tommy Paul, who is also his inspiration. Alfred enjoys carving plaques and bowls in yellow cedar, with embellishments in acrylic paint and traditional copper and abalone shell.
A member of the Barren Lands Indian Band, was born at Cumberland House, Saskatchewan in 1962, and raised in northern Manitoba. It was here that he developed a deep feeling of nature and wildlife, taking advantage of every opportunity to explore the woods, lakes and streams during his childhood and school years. Ernie Scoles, who is largely self taught, was awarded the Governor General’s 125 Medal for his contribution to his community. He makes his home in Saskatoon with his wife Doreen and their four children. His paintings are found in collection throughout Canada, The United States, Europe and Asia.
John is a proud member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, having been born into the small community of Alert Bay, B.C. on June 3rd, 1960. As a member of the Namgis First Nations, he comes from many generations of traditional artists. His career began at an early age of 15, under the support and guidance of his knowledgeable uncles. Since 1986, John has worked full time creating contemporary Northwest Coast jewelry in both silver and gold, his beautiful creations serving as a testament to the talent of this dedicated artist. John, his wife, and their two daughters now reside in Victoria, B.C. Canada.
Jonasie was born in 1944 in Qaqortoq, Greenland. He spent his formative years in a number of villages in Southern Greenland. At the age of 10 his family relocated to Denmark. Jonasie was very restless and by age 15 he followed his heart to the sea, eventually earning his credentials as a Deep Sea Navigator through the Danish Naval Academy. Jonasie returned to Greenland as a Harbour Master. After two years, he set out for a new life in Canada. He arrived in British Columbia in 1974 and established a business importing Greenlandic art. He discovered that not only did he have an eye for art but also a talent for creating it. Eventually Mr. Faber ceased importing and began creating.
Louis was born in Moosonee, Ontario. This Cree Native started carving at the age of 17. For the past 20 years Louis has been using wood chisels, carving knives, planks, propane torches and sand paper to create North American wildlife. “I mostly like to use dry cedar. I take an axe or a saw to cut it down and I use a propane toruch (to darken the wood), but I never paint (his carvings). I just like them to be natural, just right.”
Rick was born in Gilford Island B.C. on November 21, 1959. He is a band member of Kwicksutaineuk Haxwa’mis (Wakemen Sound). He belongs to the Musgama Dzawada’enuxw Nation and a member of the Guilford Island Band. He was influenced by the late Allen James, Jack James and Sam Johnson all from the Musgama Dzawada’enuxw Nation. Rick started carving in 1982 under Chief Frank Nelson. He also apprenticed with Patty Seaweed. Culture is a big part of Rick’s life. He is the great grandson of Master carver Chief Herbert of Wakemen Sound (Hax Wu Mis).
Tommy is a well-known silversmith who specializes in Navajo jewelry. His inlaid turquoise, coral, & silver pieces incorporate the most traditional of Navajo design – designs that have endured for many years. Many of these designs are of traditional Navajo rugs and other timeless designs. Mr. Singer gained notoriety as the originator of the chip inlay design which he developed in the 1970’s. Mr. Singer is a member of the Navajo tribe from Winslow, Arizona. He perfected his craft working on the Navajo reservation in a small studio surrounded with his family and other tribal members. He was also somewhat controversial for his ability and desire to sell his work outside of the reservation and for working so closely with many whites, even hiring such to work with him on the reservation – unheard of in the mid-1970’s. He was truly ahead of his times in many ways!