Born on January 14, 1966 to Joe and Audrey Wilson, Joe Wilson's maternal grandparents were Alvin and Ethel Alfred of Alert Bay and Village Island. Wilson began learning about flat design under master artist Doug Cranmer when he was just twelve years old. Working on flat design for seven years before delving into other mediums is likely one of the reasons Wilson's work and style is so incredibly refined. His immense knowledge of coastal style deeply influences his work, and has contributed to an eclectic portfolio that includes ornate frontlets, masks, rattles and other large sculptures with miniature figures. He was taught by and worked with key master artists, including Doug Cranmer, Ned Matilpi, Wayne Alfred, Bruce Alfred and Beau Dick.
Wilson has traveled and worked internationally, and was head of a large scale project in Harderwijk, the Netherlands where he worked extensively on various projects.
In 2016, Wilson began learning to engrave metal and since that time has been a prolific jeweler. His original passion for design has resulted in his crafting his own miniature tools that allow him to work in rarely seen detail. Within a very short time-frame, Wilson has raised the bar as a jeweler, and is already in high demand in Canada and US markets.
We look forward to sharing new Joe Wilson pieces with you in future!
Octopus at Sunrise Pendant by Joe Wilson
Octopus lives at the bottom of the Undersea World Kingdom, and has been known for pulling unsuspecting humans do the bottom of the sea –as is told in the Legend of Sewidi and the Undersea World.
Octopus is very intelligent, and is able to ward off invaders. Octopus is also Halibuts favorite food.
Depictions of Octopus are quite easy to make out, with a bulb-shaped head, sharply curved beak, and long tentacles that are dotted with suckers. Octopus is sometimes shown with killer whale or halibut, and in Kwakwaka'wakw legendry, is associated with Kumugwe’s kingdom at the bottom of the ocean.
OCTOPUS AT SUNRISE
This pendant is especially enchanting, as it shows an Octopus basking in the ocean waves at sunrise. Most traditional pieces are set against a cross-hatched background, making the locational setting of this piece unique, fun and modern.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Campbell River Museum & Archives
Conversations with Nuu-chah-nulth artist Cecil Billy