Wednesday, September 5, 2012

JAY SIMEON

22-Karat Gold Butterfly Pendant
with Rubber Cord

A shopping center known as the Samson Mall and a ski resort are among the sights to see within Alberta, Canada’s hamlet Lake Louise.  

With sub-arctic temperatures, snowfall is common settling upon mountain ranges that include Mount Whyte and Mount Niblock.  Canada is also home to Jay Simeon.

Known for their fierce ancient warriors, Canada’s Haida Nation is also known for their outstanding skills in handcrafted art that includes painted masks, and argillite carvings.  

For me viewing jewelry crafted by an indigenous culture is particularly moving.  Items are rooted in cultural ties and history.  The detailed iconography of family crests and animal motifs tell a story.

Of Haida and Blackfoot ancestry, Simeon does not limit his work to just pendant necklaces or cuff bracelets but also to wood rattles, pipes and silkscreen prints.  Simeon’s immense love for Haida art began at the age of 14 while under the tutelage of his artist aunt, Sharon Hitchcock. 

After later developing his skills as a wood carver he took on a 6-month engraving course under the guidance of Dwayne Simeon (not related), and he topped that off with a one-year jewelry making course in which he learned such techniques as casting and repoussé.


Sterling Silver Gunarh Cuff Bracelet
“I did not consider myself a complete artist until I was fluent in every medium I took on,” says the thirty-six year old.  “Every new challenge helps me to improve in every aspect of artistry.”

Simeon’s rings, pendants and cuff bracelets are fashioned from an array of materials including 22-karat gold, sterling silver, mastodon ivory, abalone, and argillite which provide great visual interest of shadings and textures. 

Motifs are plentiful including the mysterious yet benevolent Mouse Woman who, according to legend, intervenes in human affairs in order to restore harmony.  

This deep spiritual connection to nature imbues his gold and silver jewelry designs with a gravity that is sobering and magnetic.

Power of Heavens Pendant Necklace with Abalone,
Ivory and Sterling Silver
In 2006, the prolific artist’s soulful, “experimental” works was included in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Raven Traveling exhibition; and in 2009 his work was included in McMichael Gallery’s Challenging Traditions exhibition.

Selections from Simeon’s jewelry collections are available for purchase at Spiritwrestler.com and Lattimergallery.com.
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