Dean Heron

Dean Herson, born in 1970, is Kaska?Tlingit and a member of the Wolf Clan from Teslin, Yukon. His father was a teacher and superintendent of public schools which allowed Dean to see many parts of the country while growing up. It was living in northern British Columbia that had an impact on his sense of environment, community and self-identity. His parents encouraged him to search out his heritage from a young age.

In teh early 1990s, Dean started to pursue a lifelong commitment to learning First Nation's art with the encouragement and support of his wife. He began designing and painting at first, but wanted to carve. In 2006, this took him back to the north, to Terrace BC, where he began formal training in drawing, design, tool making and carving under prominent Northwest Coast artists Stan Bevan, Ken McNeil, and Dempsey Bob at the Freda Deisling School of Northwest Coast Art. In the Spring of 2007, Dean was recognized by the Northwest Community College with the Dr. Freda Diesling Award.

Dean's current body of work includes serigraphs, paintings,  regalia design adn wood carvings. One of his salmon designs was selected by the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre as their offical logo. In the summer of 2007, Dean and fellow student Henry Kelly were asked by teachers Bevan and McNeil to paint paint longhouse fronts for the community in Kitselas, BC.

Encouraged to teach, Dean began instructing at the Northwest Community College in spring of 2007, through the College's continuing Education Department. Here he taught local youth the fundamentals of Northwest Coast design.

In December of 2007 Dean traveled with his teach and mentor, Stan Bevan, to Australia and New Zealand to open the People of the Cedar exhibit in Melbourne Australia and visit carving schools in New Zealand with the intention of learning from other indigenous artists.

  • Formline Bentwood Box

    Dean Heron

    $800.00 CAD

    Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

    Specific and unique to the Northwest Coast People is the bentwood or bent-corner box or container.  A most outstanding item of the First Nations people, it is a made from one single plank of wood through a lengthy steaming process – a method strictly adapted by the coastal peoples.

    The center portion of the container was kerfed or steambent to form four sides where corners are desired.  The wood was made pliable with heat and moisture and then bent to form a four-sided shape.  A separate base and unusually-shaped lid was carved to complete the box.  The box shape was secured to a bottom piece of wood which has been grooved on its edges.

    Bentwood boxes were traditionally produced by Native peoples from the western coastal regions of North America, commonly called the Pacific Northwest Coast, including parts of southern Alaska, western British Columbia and southern Washington.

    The boxes and chests were used as storage containers, the water-tight ones for holding hot rocks and water for cooking and the canoe boxes to fix into the bottom of a dugout canoe.  The highly decorated ones as were also symbols of wealth. Ranging in size from small to large, these utilitarian objects were often presented to a couple with the intention of forming a union.

    Boxes would be either decorated with a carved design or left undecorated. Sizes varied from small to large depending on the use. Some boxes were made specifically for cooking food over heated stones. Other boxes were made for storage of dried fish, fish eggs, dried berry cakes, nuts, seaweed, as well as to keep oil of seal, whale or eulochon.

    These containers proved to have multi-utilitarian purposes and were an important item of the Northwest Coast Native tradition and culture.