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332 Water Street, Unit 200
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Freddie Wilson

Haida Nation
View artist biography

Freddie Wilson

Haida Nation

Born in Queen Charlotte City in to the Raven clan from the village of q’una ‘llnagaay (skedans) in Gwaii Haanas, in Haida Gwaii, he grew up in Old Masset with his father Cooper Wilson, and his mother Brenda Edenshaw. He is one of nine children in his extended family, which includes carver Donnie Edenshaw.

Freddie started to carve Argillite in his late teens. His first piece was a small crest pole. Since then he has moved onto extremely complex and unique pieces. He has achieved advanced design capabilities while creating his own signature. Primarily influenced by his father, he takes inspiration from Donnie Edenshaw, his brother and other Haida artists Ben Davidson, Christian White, Jim Hart, Gwaai Edenshaw and his uncle Guujaaw. His main source of inspiration comes from old Argillite pieces, in particular those that have been attributed to the Great Charles Edenshaw.

“When I first started carving, my father would square off a piece of Argillite, and then give it to me, and I’d take over with carving the designs. Sometime he’d do the reverse – have me do the initial block and then he’d start the piece and take me through the many different steps such as where to make the first cut, then what the second cut should be and so on. I learned how to start a piece and how to finish it.”

Though he is known for his traditional renditions of pieces, Freddie also takes pride in carving modern day culture into Argillite. You can find him producing a traditional raven form one month, to him producing an Argillite skateboard for a friend the next. He sees beyond the traditions and this inspires him to produce art in unconventional ways. His work can be compared to those artists producing works between 1830-1865 where we see depictions of Euro-American sailors, women and architecture being incorporated into their traditional panel pipes.

His goals are to move forward with his art and learned to recreate his forms in other mediums. He pays homage to artists Phillip Gray and Jay Simeon for their ability to work in multiple materials. In 2009, Freddie graduated from Vancouver's Northwest Coast Jewelry Arts program under established Haida/Kwakwaka'wakw artist, Dan Wallace. 


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