CHRIS COOK III
Ogwilagamey (Chris Cook III) was born in ‘Yalis (Alert Bay) and is a hereditary chief of the ‘Namgis. Being born into a high ranking and traditional family, Cook is an avid storyteller and historian – a gift that he is able to harness through his creativity. As a child, Cook loved sketching, and studied metal work and machinery while in high school. In 1998, he received his BA in History from the University of Victoria, and was also enrolled in the silversmith courses at Camosun College while he was at UVIC. His prior metal working skills and sketching abilities were soon realized, and he was eagerly designing and producing art jewellery full time.
Cook credits Francis Dick for encouraging him to apply his metal working skills with Kwakwaka’wakw design. He was one of the first ‘Namgis artists to start inlaying semi-precious gem stones into his jewellery, something that has become a signature of his workmanship. Cook has spent many years refining his skills as a jeweler, even traveling to Italy to apprentice with the famous Bulgarian Silversmith Valentin Yotkov.
More recently, Cook has been experimenting with a metal-rolling technique, creating unique copper pendants with abstract designs. He has crafted many unusual pieces from silver, including silver goblets, beautiful lockets, a silver adorned headdress and even an exquisite gold and emerald dragonfly urn-pendant with a hollow body for holding ashes. Innovative, professional and prolific, Chris Cook III is dedicated to producing quality pieces, and has made a number of custom ordered rings, bracelets and pendants for us. If you are interested in commissioning a piece by Cook, please contact us for more information. Cook speaks and teaches Kwak’wala, and is active in his community as a dancer, singer and historian.
2006-2007: Totems to Turquoise:Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest; American Museum of Natural History
2011: Chasing Form: New Directions in Repousse; Group Exhibition – Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria BC
Black Onyx Eagle Ring by Chris Cook III
Eagle represents vision, peace, friendship and prosperity. Eagle feathers are very sacred, and are used in ceremonies. Eagles are commonly depicted with Salmon, as they have excellent fishing skills. As Eagles are unable to release their talons mid-flight, they have been known to drown if they choose too large and powerful a fish to grab onto. Eagle is very noble and is often described as having a moral conscience in Legend. Eagle Down is cherished and highly valued for use in ceremony.
In Haida society, one is born to either the Eagle or the Raven clan. Each clan carries a number of crests, some of which are shared, and some of which are exclusive. As one must always marry outside of their clan, Eagle and Raven together represent love.
Eagles are depicted with a short curved beak, and sometimes have an appendage on the head. When Eagle has an appendage, he is easy to confuse with Thunderbird – but Thunderbird’s appendage is curled on the end, making it quite distinct and recognizable.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Campbell River Museum & Archives