Argillite is a dense, black, carbonaceous shale known as kwawhlahl in the Haida language. It is found exclusively at a creek on Slatechuck Mountain (Tllgaduu randlaay) on Graham Island, the largest island in the Haida Gwaii archipelago.
Once the stone is cut from the hillside, it must be backpacked down the mountain on foot before it is carved. Argillite carvings have been prized around the world since the 1800s when the Haida began selling pieces to sailors. Today, Haida carvers continue the tradition.For those who wish to know more about this beautiful and unique sculptural tradition, Carol Sheehan's book 'Breathing Stone' is an excellent resource on contemporary Haida argillite carving and is available in the gallery.
Please note, argillite is a fragile stone. Avoid knocking argillite against hard or sharp surfaces as it can scratch or chip. If handled with care, argillite pieces will be enjoyed for many years to come.