Cree artist Justin Rivard was born in Nanaimo on October 11, 1964. In 1985, Rivard’s father introduced him to native artist Ray Dumont who suggested he start carving. Rivard took him up on the offer, and began researching his ancestral roots, working in art galleries and spending time in the library analyzing different styles.
Through the 1990s, Rivard found a niche as a jewellery known for making unusual pieces from silver, such as lighter cases and business card holders, as well as some of the lesser seen objects such as cuff links, tie bars and money clips. His Spirit Beads have been exceptionally popular, as they fit the ever popular Pandora and Troll bracelets, and can also be worn with pendants, alone, or even on hair wraps.
Rivard’s work is clean, consistent and generally crafted from a thicker gauge of silver than most artists use. Pendants and rings with semi-precious gem stones are marveled at by collectors and other artists alike. Rivard has also applied oxidation to pieces, giving them an antiqued quality, and has created many beautiful overlay pieces.
Rivard works in both silver and gold, and silver & gold combinations. If you would like to custom order a piece, please contact us.
Turquoise Bear by Justin Rivard
On the Pacific Northwest Coast, Bears are correlated with humans, as both rely on berries and salmon for sustenance. Bear is also considered an ancestor, and as such, are revered as a friend to man rather than a threat.
Bears weave a special connection between spawning salmon and the health of the forests they live in, as salmon are full of nitrogen which acts as a superb fertilizer for the forest. During the spawn, Bears take advantage of their opportunity to benefit from the abundant food supply by eating their favorite parts and discarding what they fancy less. In general, it is said that Bears only consume about 5% of any given salmon they pull from streams during the return, which is why Bears have been given significant credit by the scientific community, for helping to maintain the health of the forest.
To identify a bear, look for a short snout, canine teeth, small ears, claws, and a short tail. Bears are often depicted with salmon, cubs, and humans. Wolf and Bear can look quite similar on jewellery, with the wolf having a much longer snout and tail. To differentiate Bear from Sea Bear, look for fish-scales where Bear would otherwise have fur.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Campbell River Museum & Archives