National Treasure #111: Bill Reid

William Ronald Reid, Jr.’s life changed in his thirties.

Bill Reid was born to a Haida mother and an American father of Scottish and German roots. While working as a broadcaster with the CBC in Toronto in the early 1950s, he studied jewelry-making at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, and later studied classic European jewelry-making at the London School of Design. He combined European jewelry techniques with the Haida art tradition. His passion for Haida art was kindled by a visit to Haida Gwaii in 1954 where he saw a pair of bracelets masterfully engraved by the great carver and his great-great-uncle, Charles Edenshaw, after which, to use his own words, “the world was not the same.” – Bill Reid Gallery

Bill’s mother was a member of the Raven/Wolf clan, and it was through his maternal grandfather that he learned about their traditions.

Recipient of six honorary degrees, the Indspire Awards for Lifetime Achievement (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Award), Bill was also made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Among about 1,500 creations throughout his career, his bronze sculptures are magnificent:

He is also famous for Loo Taas, the 15-metre war canoe he carved from a single log.

Read more about Bill Reid here and here. Read more about his great-great-uncle here.


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2 Responses to National Treasure #111: Bill Reid

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    We have a small argillite carving done by one of Edenshaw’s descendants still living in Skidegate, Haida Gwaii. As I recall, it cost $10 an inch. Today, I suspect, it would be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars an inch.
    Jim T

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