Material: Argillite, Paua Shell
Dimensions: 1.5 inches tall by 1.5 inches wide
Design: Bear represents intelligence, respect, and strength.
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
Myles Edgars was born in 1958 in Haida Gwaii and started carving at the age of 13. Myles mainly carves argillite and is known for his smooth and fluid style, and use of inlay. In addition to carving argillite jewelry, Myles also carves small argillite figurines and totem poles.
He was mentored by the late Richard Yeltatzie, an established Haida artist and his brother-in-law, Haida carver Steven Collinson. Myles has also mentored many young people to continue this skill, including his daughter, Amy Edgars.
Sourcing the argillite stone is an arduous task. A few times a year Myles' son makes the trip up by foot to a mountainous area on Haida Gwaii. This site is protected by the Haida Nation.
When Myles isn’t carving, his favourite thing to do is spend time with his family and gather food, such as seafood and dear meat.
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).