Argillite

(Color: Black or diverse shades of gray / hardness 3-7 / Occurrence: Haida Gwaii BC Canada)

The Haida Nation is renowned for its beautiful "black slate" or argillite carvings. The Haida began carving argillite in response to the early curio trade of the 1820's, amongst British explorers and settlers. Soon the artistic accomplishments of the Haida in the use of materials such as wood, horn, and stone included this new medium. While argillite used to be known as a form of tourist art, it has grown to become one of the most sought after art forms in North American First Nations art. Even today, argillite continues to be carved exclusively by Haida artists both on Haida Gwaii and in the Vancouver and Victoria areas.

Gryn White
Gryn White’s aboriginal name is Duugwi, means “Strong Haida”, and he has descended from an impressive lineage of renowned artists. His great-great grandfather is Charles Edenshaw (1839-1920), a chief of the StA’stas Eagle clan and who was considered the most influential Haida artist of his time. Gryn has been carving since 2002, and learned many of his skills through his father, Greg Lightbown While. Gryn works with a variety of media, he is well-known for his argillite carving. In recent years, he has become proficient in inlay work. In 2008, he was one of fourteen argillite carvers featured in the book Breathing Stone by Carol Sheehan.