Gus Cook – Curator’s Choice Spring 2020

In November 2019, Gus Cook received the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art from the BC Achievement Foundation in Vancouver.

From an early age, Gus was given encouragement from both his parents to strive towards his goals, be proud of his cultural heritage, and be mindful of his surroundings.

He has been influenced by both of his cousins, Rande Cook and William Cook, and credits Frank Nelson and Richard Sumner as some of mentors.

Recognized for his use of repoussé, an old European metalworking technique which involves the hammering out of metal from behind so the designs appear 3-dimensional, Gus is one of very few Northwest Coast artists practicing this ancient craft. This unique blend of influences makes his works quite impressive.

In 2010, his cousin Rande went to Italy to study repoussé under Valentin Yotkovhe, a Bulgarian master. He quickly followed this with another course in New York, and upon his return home to British Columbia, Rande passed on his new skill-set to Gus.

Gus quickly became proficient in this technique and began his own research, reading and studying on the topic. He then committed himself to pursuing this new craft to the fullest.

“I just spent as much time as I needed to finish the piece — and did as much work as I possibly can. And that’s when things started to look up for me. That’s when I started to love it.”

This positivity and dedication has lead Gus to master his practice and surpass his mentors while continuing to elevate his jewelry to the next level, which has made it highly collectible.

To view Gus Cook’s entire jewelry collection in our Gallery and for more details, please click here.

Image courtesy of BC Achievement Foundation (Gus Cook is standing second in from the right).