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
Malachite Frog Bracelet by Chris Cook III
Frogs warn humans of imminent danger. Frogs represent stability, foundations and communication, which correlate with environmental observations about contamination and a worrisome decline in frog populations. Frog and Salmon both represent fertility in different regions along the coast. As a creature who lives in both water and on land, Frog is respected for being adaptable and knowledgeable. He is an important assistant to medicine men.
Frog faces are depicted with large round or oval eyes, tiny nostrils and long, closed lips that are often smiling and sometimes have a protruding tongue. The tongue represents transfer of knowledge. Frog is most recognizable when the whole body is shown, as the front and hind legs have webbed feet.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Jay Miller Tsimshian Culture: A Light Through the Ages (2000)