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Warlus tusk, Yew wood, Abalone shell
Only 1 available
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- Artist Bio
Warlus tusk, Yew wood, Abalone shell
"The Haisla call the skatefish Bag°ana. It’s a creature that lives in the deep, dark waters of the ocean and is seldom seen except by fisherman. It is an intriguing and mysterious creature with a very streamlined, sculptural shape. A young skatefish’s wings have a circular spot, encircled by a fine line, which has been credited with the beginnings of the famous Pacific Northwest Coast Ovoid. I believe the circle shape evolved further by elongating due to the influence of the white eyespot patch of an orca and the ovoid-shape of a skull’s empty eye-sockets. So this tiny sculpture’s back features an orca, while the front has a skatefish and human skull. Just below the Bag°ana, is a single Flicker-feather, which has been credited with the invention of the Split-U."
-Lyle Wilson, 2016
Born in 1955, Lyle Wilson is a Haisla artist from Kitamaat Village, which is near the town site of Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada. The Haisla Nation is often referred to as Northern Kwakwaka’wakw; however, their historic artistic style has influences from various sources – notably Kwakwaka’wakw and Tsimshian, as well as developing distinctive qualities of their own. The name Kitamaat means, “People of the Snow” and refers to the large amount of snow received by this region. Tsimshian people visiting the Haisla people in mid-winter arrived to see people emerging from big houses completely buried by the snow so the name Kitamaat seemed an appropriate description.
The Haisla Clan system is matrilineal and although he was born into the Beaver Clan, Lyle was formally adopted into his father’s Eagle Clan. Due to the high death rates at this time, his Eagle grandmother formally adopted both Lyle and his sister to help ensure the continuation of the Eagle Clan. This was a small but important event, which helped shape Lyle’s view of Haisla culture.
Lyle was always conscious and appreciative of Haisla art, which was present in his formative years. In this regard, his first artistic influence was his uncle, Sam Robinson, who is a full-time carver. Fascinated, Lyle watched him and occasionally whittled to the best of this abilities. He did not pursue art as a possible profession until he attended the University of British Columbia. At this time, he committed to a career in art education, but found time spent in the studio more compelling – eventually leaving to pursue his own artistic interests at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design. He graduated with a diploma in printmaking and began to develop his individual style. This artistic style has its roots in graphics, but also envelopes his three-dimensional works in wood and jewelry.
Today, a renowned artist, Lyle works closely with University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology where he has further pursued his interest in replicating historic Haisla art for future generations to understand and visualize. Lyle has been involved with many important private and public commissions that have aided in the awareness of Haisla art.
Additionally, he has been involved in a number of group and solo exhibitions since 1981 both locally and abroad. Some of his public commissions can be viewed at the Museum of Anthropology, BC Sports Hall of Fame, Canadian Consulate in Osaka, Japan, Canadian Institute for the Blind, EXPO 1992 and at the UBC First Nations House of Learning.
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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
Price upon request
This piece opens to reveal an inner box with relief engraving that echos the outer lid.
Traditionally, boxes were considered prized possessions and customarily used to store wealth or special ceremonial objects such as masks, rattles, clothing and adornments. People often gave names to these beautiful ornate boxes, told stories about their histories and treated them as family heirlooms. However, non-decorated boxes acted as instruments of life – from storing less precious articles, to food and later used for mortuary purposes. In Haida mythology, a stack of boxes contained the essence from which Raven created the world.
Eagle, Dogfish, Beaver and Frog Box retains its traditional elements through conception and imagery. Derek exhibits his mastery in his precision of line and perfect symmetry of the formline of 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.
The box contains not only depictions of four important crest animals, but connects to past traditions in which a box held more than the material object, it also linked people to their heritage, lineage and each other.
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Bronze Cast, Marble base
Edition of 12
9.5 x 8 x 5″
Volcano Woman is perhaps one of the oldest and most revered legends which tells of a mortal”s fate if he/she does not treat sacred objects or creatures with respect. In defense of her beloved wild creatures, she controls the powerful volcanoes. Stories tell of how the killing of a frog leads the Volcano woman to destroy an entire village.
Volcano Woman is a supernatural, powerful person in First Nations mythology. She had a son who, like his mother, had supernatural abilities. He often liked to change from his Human form to that of a Frog (Wukus).
Years ago, a Prince and his two friends went fishing. Hungry, they lay their food on leaves. The Wukus (Frog), being mischievous, jumped on their food. Twice the young Prince threw the Frog into the shrubs but on the third time they threw the frog into the fire and killed the innocent creature.
A few nights later, a woman could be heard crying and wailing. “Who has done this, come forward and I will spare your village.” This warning went unheeded for some time until finally a Woman of the Elders went to the village outskirts to see her. Volcano Woman instructed the Woman of the Elders to send forth the three young men and she would spare the village from volcanic destruction. The Woman of the Elders begging for the sake of the Village told of Volcano Woman”s ultimatum – but this warning went unheeded.
On the final night of the village’s existence, Volcano Woman was heard saying, “I asked for those responsible to take heed and now you will know my vengeance.” The Village shook, a Volcano erupted, destroying the village and all who lived there.
Other works by this artist
18K Yellow Gold, Textured, Engraved
Design inspired by a bentwood box image found in The Transforming Image book by Karen Duffek & Bill McLennan
14K Yellow Gold Omero chain available separately..
Price upon request
Sterling silver, Textured, Engraved, Repoussé, Chased
Hinged with Sterling silver Catch
“Exploring one’s roots brings a healthy appreciation of one’s place in the scheme of things. The Pacific Northwest Coast (PNC) formline has undergone changes over the passage of time. What I wanted to do was to pay homage to that earlier, cleaner, straightforward, massive look of PNC art because it captures the sense of that era’s time. I learned from what work they left behind and so it impacts the work I do today.
In this bracelet, a mixture of modern techniques – repoussé, chasing, engraving, texturing, fabrication – has been added to a deceptively simple facial image that’s present on early traditional bent-boxes; a face thought to represent a supernatural guardian of any treasures contained within the box.
For me, and for this exhibition, this style of PNC imagery depiction on a bracelet seemed to be something that had a sense of inevitability because I have such admiration and respect for ancient PNC artists”
-Lyle Wilson, 2016
Sterling silver, 18K Yellow Gold, Engraved, Textured, Repousse, Chased
“Miya means Fish or Salmon in the Haislakala language. In 1998, I made a bracelet called ‘The Lonely Salmon’ and I always meant to make a brooch companion piece but somehow the time never seemed right. ‘The Lonely Miya’ is my latest version that continues the theme of our decimation of the salmon stocks. The salmon was once so numerous that the old people say a river could be crossed by ‘walking on the salmon backs, without getting your feet wet.’
Decades ago, while commercial fishing on a large boat with a 5-man crew, and using a long, long net, we caught one salmon! Our captain said, ‘That’s a lonely salmon!'”
-Lyle Wilson, 2016
Sterling silver, Textured, Engraved
“This group of pendants, brooches and earrings were inspired by an earlier painting of mine entitled ABC’s: Reconstituted, 2011. The subject matter is the English alphabet rendered in the Pacific Northwest Coast (PNC) formline style. It is my recognition that educational ideals are steadily becoming incorporated into the fabric of PNC people’s lives. That’s a good thing, and these jewelry pieces are my little way of recognizing the importance of continuing modern educational ideals.”
-Lyle Wilson, 2016