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Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
|Dimensions||60 x 6 x 0.75"|
|Nation||Coast Salish Nation|
Coast Salish Nation
William Toby Jefferson was born on July 3rd, 1969. On his mother’s side, William is a descendant of Heyawek (Speakers) from his namesake’s Quiachtun and his father Latsean of Lummi/Thlaktemish. Both Quiachtun and Latesean are the 5th & 6th generation grandsons of Squilox, representing 10 generations of Thlaktemish on Orcas Island (200 years ago). Quiachtun married Celia, the daughter of the Heyawek named Chehanek and son of Joskanen of Semiahmoo. William’s mother is Tahweethlot Juanita Jefferson of Lummi and Dutch/Scottish Irish ancestry.
On his father’s side, William is the grandson of Heyawek Stateethlum (Chief Stateethlum) of S’klallam and Snuneymuxw (Chief Nanaimo) on Vancouver Island, and Sealth (Chief Seattle) of Suquamish/Duwamish. His father is Whipkanim David Jefferson of Lummi ancestry.
William was raised in the Longhouse under traditional teachings and stories. The earliest teachings handed down to him came from his cousin, Dale James, when he was only nine years old. James, a Lummi Master carver, advised William to “look into the wood, carve what you see and put your own style into it.” He told him that this approach was fundamentally Coast Salish and Lummi.
At the age of 12, William learned how to shape and carve canoes and paddles from his father. These lessons came long before William had ever considered himself a carver. He later learned teachings of canoe carving from his late Uncle Roy Edwards, of Stz’uminus First Nation, and from George Swanaset, of Nooksack Nation.
After befriending fellow artist Terrance Campbell at the age of 27, William was taught basic Formline design. It took him 3 years to transform his designs into his own unique style. This style is inspired by teachings, as well as from William’s spiritual experience with the animals, their spirits, and with “beings that no longer walk this earth.” His experiences with these things have sparked a desire to create art that flows continuously, connecting everything and everywhere.
“This is my connection to the spirit, my prayers to my ancestry, my Grandmothers, Grandfathers and our Creation.”
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The Thunderbird is a supernatural, mythical creature that lives high in the mountains and feeds on Killerwhale. It’s been aptly named for the thunder that rolls off its wings and lightening comes from its eyes when it flies.
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Argillite, Catlinite, Abalone shell, Mother of Pearl
This ornately detailed panel pipe inlayed with catlanite, abalone shell and mother of pearl tells the ancient story of Nanasimgit.
The man or Nanasimgit is depicted at the bottom of the pipe holding skils to represent his stature. It shows the numerous potlatches he has held. The following story is a shortened version as told by the artist, Christian White:
One day, the man’s wife was washing sea otter skins near the ocean, when a Killerwhale arose from the surface. It coaxed her into the water and carried her seaward while her husband watched in disbelief. Without hesitation, he quickly decided to follow them until the Killerwhale dove near a two-headed kelp, which prevented him from going any further. He was feeling quite distraught as he returned back to the village but by then he had decided to seek the help of his uncle, the Frog.
The Frog offered him advice on how he could get his wife back and suggested that he take specific objects with him for his journey. He brought spruce root twine, a gimlet and medicine, placing them in his canoe. But, before he embarked on his journey, he was urged to undergo a fast in order to cleanse his body, which involved various rituals.
Once the fast was completed, the man embarked on his quest until he came across the kelp he had encountered before. He tied his canoe to the kelp along with his possessions and climbed down beneath the surface to find himself in another world. He followed a path where he encountered three blind women that resembled Geese. He used his medicine to cure two of the women while the third one chose not to accept the medicine. The cured women vowed to repay him for his deed. As he proceeded onward, the man came across two slaves, from the Killerwhale clan, chopping wood. As they proceeded to chop the wood, the head of their axe fell off and they began to cry knowing the consequences they would face from the Chief. The man stopped to assist them and in return they directed him to his wife’s dwelling. The slaves warned the man of the watchmen pole that stood in front of the longhouse protecting the inhabitants. The watchmen had the ability to scent out and watch out for intruders.
While he proceeded further on his path and thought about how to divert the watchmen, the man encountered a Heron repairing a canoe without success. The man stopped to offer him his gimlet to successfully repair the canoe. In return for his generosity, the Heron helped conceal the man under his wing blanket from the Black Whale guards and the watchmen. He successfully entered the longhouse to happily find his wife. At this point, the watchmen discovered the man taking his wife back with him, but were unable to stop him.
When the man arrived back with his wife to his village he felt a different connection with her, as though she was not herself. At night, he would keep her in a bentwood box, but one morning when he awoke, to his surprise she escaped. She left to be with her Killerwhale family and fully transformed into a Killerwhale. This was the last he saw of her.
4.75 x 10.25 x 1.25″ (without base)
8 x 12 x 5.25″ (with base)