- Gemstones: Argillite
- Totem Symbols: Bear
- Artists: Gryn White
- Styles: Canadian First Nations, Gemstone Jewelry
- Categories: Earrings
The Bear symbolizes strength, independence, learned humility, and teaching. The protector of the animal kingdom. With great power and human like qualities, the Bear is known as the Elder Kinsman and is always treated as a high-ranking guest.
Argilite is a fine-grained sedimentary rock, often called “black slate”, and is renowned by the Haida nation for carving. The Haida began carving argillite in response to the early curio trade of the 1820's, allowing them to trade with early European 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’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.