Material: Argillite, Paua Shell
Dimensions: 0.5 inches tall by 1 inches wide
Design: Killer whale is the guardian of the ocean realm. This symbol represents family, strength and protection.
Argillite is a black stone that is geologically classified as slate. The argillite from Haida Gwaii is found on one mountaintop and is protected by the Haida Nation as a stone exclusively carved by the Haida people.
This stone’s geological formation makes it unique compared to argillite found elsewhere. Exposure to high heats allowed this argillite to cool and form in a way that was strong enough to be carved, yet soft enough to take on fine carving details and sculpting.
Once this stone was found by Haida artists its true transformation began.
About the Artist
Amy Edgars is a Haida artist from Old Massett, British Columbia. She was inspired by her father, Myles Edgars, to pursue the art of argillite carving. Amy began carving at the age of 16. "I saw my dad and others carving every day, so I thought I better sit down and try it out," says Amy. She also notes the late Haida artist Pat Wesley as an influence in developing her carving skills.
Amy is one of few Haida women argillite carvers and has been carving for over 15 years. She has a passion for carving and has made the trip up Slatechuck Mountain several times to gather her own argillite.
Each argillite carving is made by hand. Please expect some minor variation. This craftsmanship is what makes your piece truly unique.
In Haida culture, the meanings of designs and symbols are in context of oral histories passed down through generations.
Some stories have been lost due to residential schooling and colonization, during which time the Haida were outlawed from practicing their language and culture. With the stories that remain, Haida elders continue to share these stories with the next generation.
Each design is created based on the artist’s unique style and their personal and familial interpretation of Haida stories.
So what’s the best way to choose a design? We encourage you to select the design that you feel most drawn to. Haida artists create these pieces to share their art and culture beyond Haida Gwaii. We hope you enjoy. Haawa (thank you).