Haida artist Shirley Adams learned to make button blankets with her grandmother Agnes (Edenshaw) Yeltatzie, beginning when she was eight years old.
Adams has been influenced and inspired by her cousin, famed Haida artist, Robert Davidson.
Adams designs are all based in tradition and she uses only mother of pearl or abalone buttons.
Eagle Dance Apron by Shirley Adams
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