James Sawyer was born on Haida Gwaii in 1969. He is part of the Skidegate Giidins Clan. His lineage includes his uncle, Doug Wilson, argillite carver and author, and his grandfather, Ike Hans, argillite and wood carver. He is also influenced by fellow Haida artist and friend, Reg Davidson.
James grew up in the city of Richmond, British Columbia, and then moved home to Haida Gwaii in 1992. At that point, James started to develop his art skills by learning from Pat Wesley.
James started to make a living with art as his primary source of income in 1997. Initially, his focus was with paddles and graphics — then he began working on the designs for button blankets, vests and logo designs. Later, he began working in wood and particularly with the steaming, folding and designing of bentwood boxes with relief carving. He began to work in gold, silver and copper and has had much success with his jewellery which continues to this day.
James enjoys doing what he does and tries to help his community as much as he can. He often donates pieces to help with fundraising for local organizations and he also tries to inspire the youth to do more with their talents.
He now resides in Massett on Haida Gwaii and he is very happy to be living his life in a culturally, artistic and scenic environment, as well as creating art and spending time with his family.
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