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
Hummingbird Bangle by Kelvin Thompson
Exclusive to the Western Hemisphere, Hummingbird is an agile feminine bird known for grace, beauty, love and joy. Hummingbirds can hover in the air without seeming to fly, but have swift movement and are quick to respond to danger. Hummingbirds are affiliated with emotional healing, and are seen as a good omen if one appears during a time of strife or sorrow. Fragile and sensitive to her surroundings, Hummingbirds are a reminder of the delicate nature of life.
Hummingbirds are generally depicted with tiny, fragile bodies, long slender beaks, and either a single or cluster of flowers. Hummingbird is sometimes illustrated with curled appendages similar to that of Thunderbird, though more delicate. That said, it is impossible to mistake Hummingbird for Thunderbird, due to the obvious differences between their beaks.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Conversations with various artists