September 7, 2011

Derek Wilson (1950-2011)

We regret to inform you that well-known Haisla jeweller, Derek Wilson passed away on September 6, 2011. Derek was a great artist and a knowledgeable teacher. He began carving with his brother, Barry Wilson, in the late 1950's, finishing pieces that their uncle Henry Robertson used to throw away. It was in 1976 that Derek was influenced by Russell Smith and David Gladstone to engrave silver and gold. His designs were based on his family history from the Tsimshian and Haisla Nations.

Derek's many accomplishments included exhibits at MOA, Vancouver Centennial Museum and a museum collection in England in 1967. He designed the BC Explorer Logo and one of his gold rings was given to the Queen of England in 1981 by a visiting native group to the UK. From 2004-2006 he helped with the recreation of the nineteenth-century G'psgolox pole made for Sweden and was also featured in the NFB documentary:
Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole.

Derek was an inspiring teacher and helped many young artists establish their careers including Kelvin Thompson, Ivan Thomas and Dan Wallace. In 2008, he helped teach and advise the students of the Northwest Coast Jewellery Arts Program.

Derek was a close friend of the gallery from the very beginning in 1986, and will always be remembered. The Memorial will be held on Friday, September 9th from 6pm-9pm at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, 1607 East Hastings Street.

1 comment:

joanc said...

Derek was a funny and kind partner when I sat next to him in Commercial Design 11 at Carson Graham in 1971. I feel fortunate to own a beautiful bracelet that he carved in the 90,s. Let your spirit soar Derek

Joan (Fraser) Barrington-Foote