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
Turquoise Crescent Moon Earrings by Chris Cook III
Though Moon is not a common crest, it is affiliated with transformation. Mover of tides, Moon is viewed as a very powerful protector and is often associated with Medicine people.
Moon is affiliated with Wolf, as both are considered nocturnal. Moon is also associated with Killer Whale and Lingcod, as it is believed that during the eclipse, the Moon had been swallowed by such sea creatures – so great fires were lit to choke the sea creature until they spat Moon back out into the night sky. Sometimes, Moon has a labret marking on the lower lip to symbolize female energy. Of course the most famous story of all involving the Moon is that of Raven bringing light to the world. For this reason, Raven is often depicted with a full moon in his beak.
MOON STEALS A WOMAN
A woman called Tspilk-ola’k-a and her daughter, Tlaluakoagyilkaka’so, were living together in Tlamnos. The daughter was very beautiful and so the Moon Man resolved to steal her. He descended from the sky and asked Tspilk-ola’k-a for some water. She sent her daughter willingly to the well to get fresh water, but she had scarcely set foot out of the door when the Moon Man seized her and took her up into the sky with him. So Tspilk-ola’k-a became sad and moved to Naue’te. After some time the Moon Man came down again and asked a woman for water. When Tspilk-ola’k-a heard him coming she warned the woman not to go outside because the Moon Man would take her with him. But she didn’t listen to the advice and the Moon Man abducted her when she stepped out of the door. The girl with her container can still be seen in the moon today.
From Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America; A translation of Franz Boas 1895 Edition of Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste Amerikas - ‘Legends of the Tlatlasikwala;’ Page 409
Franz Boas Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste Amerikas (2006)