Haida Argillite Carvings
For many, Haida Art plays an important role in the development of the Pacific Northwest Coast indigenous art style. There is one distinct difference in Haida Art compared to other West Coast native art cultures, the black slate material called argillite. Argillite is a dense, black, carbonaceous shale known as kwawhlahl in the Haida language. It is found exclusively at Slatechuck Creek (Tllgaduu randlaay) on Graham Island, the largest and most northerly island in the Haida Gwaii archipelago (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). Haida artists have been carving argillite for generations. In 1941 the Haida received exclusive rights to the Slatechuck quarry. Anyone who wishes to visit must first obtain permission from the Haida Skidegate Band Council. For those who wish to know more about this unique sculptural tradition, Carol Sheehan's book 'Breathing Stone' is an excellent resource on contemporary Haida argillite carving and art.
These carvings often depict northwest coast stories, mythical spirits, animals or Haida family crests. Argillite totem poles, bentwood boxes, canoes, contemporary carvings, and jewelry are also popular. The authentic Haida Argillite Carvings and Sculptures offered in our gallery are all created by native artists from the Haida Nation. Most of the Haida Artists featured are living and working on Haida Gwaii today.