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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Argillite, Catlinite, 14K Yellow Gold, Mastodon Ivory, Abalone shell
|Dimensions||11 x 2 x 3"|
Gryn White’s aboriginal name Duugwi.is means “Strong Haida”, and he has descended from an impressive lineage of renowned artists. His great-great grandfather is Charles Edenshaw (1839-1920), a chief of thee StA’stas Eagle clan and who was considered the most influential Haida artist of his time. One of Charles’ granddaughters Lavine White, the daughter of Emily Edenshaw and Henry White had a son Greg Lightbown who is Gryn’s father.
Gryn is a part of the Raven clan and his crests include the Bear, Killerwhale and Shark (Dogfish).
His father was an argillite carver for over 40 years, but he credits his grandmother with the impetus to become an artist. At first, his parents tried to discourage him because the profession is unpredictable and it can be a struggle to follow in his elder’s footsteps.
Gryn pursued his passion and began to carve in his early teens by providing assistance to his father. When he completed school, he moved from Old Masset in the Queen Charlotte Islands to Vancouver to attend Langara Community College where he studied fine arts in design and art history.
Impressed with learning about contemporary art, he took this awareness of seeing and identifying negative space, balance, symmetry, shape, line and form back to the Haida design principles and applied it to the rules of formline design.
“I began to see the rules of Haida design as deeply rooted in our culture. It gave me the understanding of what Charles Edenshaw and Tom Price had achieved, and what Bill Reid has restored to Haida art. They became my teachers.”
“I want to create contemporary Haida art within these traditional boundaries. I’m not much interested in coming up with a new form of Haida art. I want to honour and feel continuity with the past.”
For now, Gryn is completely immersed in learning about the traditional formand exploring the tension between “old style” and original innovation with the intention of developing his own personal style. Still, he proudly acknowledges his strongest inspiration is his father and has always recognized that he wishes to be just like him.
Gryn continues to perfect his work and is continuously involved with ideas. He has filled many sketchbooks and credits the argillite stone with suggesting the form that it will take. As a perfectionist, he’s meticulous and precise, and he uses embellishments of prized Abalone shell, Catlanite and bone.
This is a meaningful art form for Gryn, one connects him to Haida Gwaii, his people and the land and animals of his island home.
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Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint, Leather
The carving of flutes of the Northwest Coast extends back historically through time. The dramatic importance of the flute was indicated by the variety of specialized whistles, each of which was produced to make specific tones. Songs and dances were part fo all ceremony and ritual, a fundamental element of the inherited privilege. Equally important were the many whistles and other musical instruments that were specifically designated for most dances. Wooden whistles of one, two or three shafts, each with several holes and reeds produced a strong and clear note. Flutes and whistles were traditionally blown in the woods to introduce the cermonial season. Every instrument was the object of time, skill and concern and was considered by those who owned it as a necessary part of the family’s collection
Sterling Silver, Argillite, Abalone shell, Engraved
Although Derek White’s Beaver and Bear Box is constructed from the contemporary material of Sterling Silver combined with Argillite, this box retains its traditional values through conception and imagery. Derek exhibits his mastery in his precision of line and perfect symmetry of the formline on this treasure. The gently angled lid with Abalone inlay as well as the engraved and incised elements on the box is suggestive of the prototypic bent cornered wooden boxes and chests.
Ivory, Abalone, Sterling silver, engraved
For more details on shipping Ivory outside of Canada, please click here and then click open the Shipping section and scroll down to read more on Shipping Restrictions.
Spoons and ladles were traditionally made from either cedar wood or the horn of a mountain sheep, and their handles were carved with family crest images. Historically, these exquisitely sculptured objects were primarily created by people in Northern Nations, and were highly sought after by other nations. During potlatches [festive gatherings], cedar ladles decorated with the hosting family’s crests were used to serve food, while the elaborately carved mountain sheep spoons were distributed as gifts among the many guests.
Today, spoon and ladle productions are based on these traditional objects and are meant to be both objects of function and display. In addition to traditional mediums such as cedar wood, goat or mountain sheep horn, many modern-day spoons and ladles are constructed of gold, silver and pewter.
Other works by this artist
According to the oral traditions of the Northwest Coast, there was once a man named Gunarh whose beautiful wife was kidnapped by a Killerwhale. He took her to the underwater village of the powerful Killerwhale People, and planned to wed her as soon as he could create a dorsal fin and attach it to her back. However, Gunarh was determined to rescue his beloved. He undertook a series of perilous tasks, going so far as to ride on the back of a mighty Killerwhale to reach the village in the depths of the sea. There, Gunarh successfully extracted his wife from the Chief Killerwhale’s longhouse, rescuing his love and returning with her to their own earthly village.
This is a common myth amongst the Haida people but there are many versions of this legend base on the Nation which is telling the story. In some versions, Gunarh is instead called Nanasimget.