Haida Artist: Clarence Steven Mills
Haida Name: Gahghin-skuss (Out of your own land)
Member of the Eagle Clan, Skidegate
Crest: Split Raven, Grizzly Bear
In British Columbia, on Canada’s Northwest Coast, lives a First Nations culture with a rich history. Art has been its survival, bringing a much larger awareness of its people and culture beyond the Canadian coast to share with the world.
Clarence Mills is a world renowned Haida artist creating artwork in the ancient traditions of his people. With guidance from his uncle, Doug Wilson, Clarence began studying traditional Haida art at the age of eighteen. Using argillite, ivory, red and yellow cedar, Clarence developed his craft incorporating Haida family crests, stories, and characters into various carvings; everything from boxes, bowls, doors, totem poles, and plaques, to engraved silver and gold jewelry. His various prints and sculptures are available at prestigious galleries and collections around the world, including a totem pole on display at the President’s Palace in Paris, France.
Today Clarence can often be found at Vancouver’s Granville Island Log House creating monumental totem poles and working on other various projects. Most recently he has worked on a successful collaboration, the Spirit Collection, with Fashion Designer Chloë Angus, expanding his medium into fine fabrics and fashion. The Spirit Collection is sold in museums, galleries and boutiques nationwide and at www.chloeangus.com.
Born in Alert Bay British Columbia in 1959, Corrine has been creating contemporary art that reflects the themes and traditions of her First Nations Komoyue and Tlingit heritage since 1985.
Corrine’s works include engraved gold and silver jewelry and accessories, custom furnishings in carved stainless steel and reclaimed wood, modern totem poles and other sculptural installations.
A member of the Raven Gwa’wina clan from Ts’akis, a Komoyue village on Vancouver Island, Corrine’s rich family history includes internationally renowned First Nations artists Henry, Richard and Tony Hunt, all of whom have influenced her art. Uncle Norman Brotchie was also an early teacher and mentor. Corrine too has mentored First Nations and other artists and continues to be a strong and vocal supporter of the arts in British Columbia.
From the beginning of her career engraving rings, bracelets, pendants and broaches, Corrine has searched for unique ways to bring the stories of her First Nations culture to contemporary life. “I want to show how both the First Nations people and the art have evolved,” she explains.
In that process, she is continually inventing and reinventing stories from her culture, honouring her roots and cultivating a refreshing artistic expression at the same time. The results are extraordinary pieces that are both ageless and contemporary. The engravings are not overly ornate; like poetry, they convey their message using as few lines as possible.
Similarly, the custom furnishings combine materials that speak to old and new, and bring the concept of living culture into contemporary homes. Corrine began designing furniture and other installed art pieces in part because in First Nations households, adorned furnishings are part of daily life. Objects in the home are not only beautiful, they are also practical and infused with cultural significance.
Tlingit Artist: Corrine Hunt
Killer whale scratching her back on the beach.
-This is the name given to Corrine by her paternal grandmother, Abusa, in 1965.