Cree artist Justin Rivard was born in Nanaimo on October 11, 1964. In 1985, Rivard’s father introduced him to native artist Ray Dumont who suggested he start carving. Rivard took him up on the offer, and began researching his ancestral roots, working in art galleries and spending time in the library analyzing different styles.
Through the 1990s, Rivard found a niche as a jewellery known for making unusual pieces from silver, such as lighter cases and business card holders, as well as some of the lesser seen objects such as cuff links, tie bars and money clips. His Spirit Beads have been exceptionally popular, as they fit the ever popular Pandora and Troll bracelets, and can also be worn with pendants, alone, or even on hair wraps.
Rivard’s work is clean, consistent and generally crafted from a thicker gauge of silver than most artists use. Pendants and rings with semi-precious gem stones are marveled at by collectors and other artists alike. Rivard has also applied oxidation to pieces, giving them an antiqued quality, and has created many beautiful overlay pieces.
Rivard works in both silver and gold, and silver & gold combinations. If you would like to custom order a piece, please contact us.
14K Gold Killer Whale Spirit Bead by Justin Rivard
Killer Whale is a traveler and guardian. Symbolizing both power and beauty, Killer Whales are significant of love and kinship, as they mate for life, travel with their pods and are fierce protectors of their young.
The Haida believe that Killer Whales are equivalent to humans, and that their undersea world societies are deeply complex. Killer Whale belongs to both the Eagle and Raven moieties of the Haida. Killer Whale is depicted differently, depending on affiliation to a particular clan. Killer Whales associated with Eagle Clan have a white stripe across the base of their dorsal fin, whereas those correlated with Raven Clan are black and do not have the stripe. If a Killer Whale has a hole in his fin, it is because he is associated with the supernatural realm. In design, the hole is marked as a round circle.
Killer Whales are considered Ancestors of many tribes on Vancouver Island, and as such, are thought to live in deep undersea villages, where they can take off their skin to emulate human beings.
Killer Whale remains one of the most commonly depicted motifs in Northwest Coast Art, perhaps second to Raven – an indication of prominence and importance.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Conversations with Ehattesaht Artist Cecil Billy