Kelvin Thompson was born on November 5, 1958 in Ste.Rose Du Lac, Manitoba. Thompson had the opportunity to study under Haisla artists Barry and Derek Wilson at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre starting in 1979, and then carved a totem pole for the Centre in 1980 with Henry Robinson. Robinson’s family adopted Thompson into his Haisla family, and Haisla style has influenced Thompsons work greatly.
Thompson is well known for using intricate detail, deep gauging, oxidized backgrounds and cut-out and overlaid work. Unlike some artists that use patterns, Thompson creates his pieces individually, resulting in a portfolio full of unique and mesmerizing motifs that attract collectors worldwide.
Thompson has taught many artists how to work in silver and gold, including Kwakwaka'wakw artist Clinton Work, who designed our logo. In the Fall of 2007, Thompson and Kwakwaka’wakw/Haida artist Dan Wallace collaborated in teaching the first annual Northwest Coast Jewellery Arts Program, which was offered at Vancouver’s Native Education College.
Thompson has been commissioned to create pieces for famed musicians James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall and Elton John, and is sure to continue creating stunning works for collectors to marvel at.
2011: Silver: Celebrating 25 Years; Lattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC
2012: Barnacles to Butterflies: Unusual Silver Jewellery; Lattimer Gallery,Vancouver, BC
2014: From the Depths: Jewellery Inspired by the Sea; Lattimer Gallery,Vancouver, BC
2015: From the Forest Floor: Jewellery inspired by the Forest; Lattimer Gallery, Vancouver BC
18 K Gold Sun Pendant by Kelvin Thompson
Sun is Chief of the Sky, and is known for having tired feet, having walked across the heavens each day. The Sun is a significant ancestor, and is a powerful crest among some high-ranking families.
The story about the light begins when the world was in darkness. Raven knows about an old man who has a secret, and Raven desperately wants to know what it is. He notices that the old man’s daughter sometimes comes out to get water from the river, but Raven cannot see any entrance on the house. One day, he transforms himself into a pine needle and drifts down the river, floating into the daughters water bucket. The girl drinks the pine needle in her water and becomes pregnant with a child. This child quickly wins the love of his grandfather, and learns that the old man is keeping many boxes that are within other boxes. The grandfather gives the child the first box, and the child cries until his grandfather gives him many boxes that are within other boxes. Eventually there are so few boxes protecting the light, it can be seen glimmering from within the center box. When grandfather refuses to appease Raven's final tantrum, he transforms himself back into the infamous and lecherous creature he is, and he steals the box before escaping through the smoke-hole in the ceiling.
Eagle sees Raven and knows he is pulling off wicked shenanigans of some sort. He pursues Raven, who cannot contain his jealousy. Raven makes a quick decision to drop the box, for if he cannot keep the box for himself, Eagle certainly cannot have it.
As the box shatters on the ground below, the sun, moon and stars are released - and the world that was in darkness can thank the hero-trickster Raven for bringing the world light.
Sun is most commonly depicted face-forward, with 6-8 long rays shrouding his face. Sometimes Sun is illustrated from a side-angle, with the rays protruding forward.
Franz Boas Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste Amerikas (2006)
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Campbell River Museum & Archives