The Northwest Coast is a region in which an entrenched and highly valued artistic tradition flourished. Among the highly developed art traditions were basketry and carving. A special residency program at the Museum of Glass (MOG) in Tacoma, Washington, allowed traditional artists to explore the medium of Studio Glass.
A special exhibit at MOG, entitled Transitions: An Exploration of Glass by Northwest Native Carvers and Weavers, featured the works of some of these American Indian artists.
According to the Museum display:
“Ancestors of the Salish Sea region continue to inspire and inform the next generations of artistic leaders and culture bearers. Translations represents a dialogue between familial generations, and continuing conversations about the evolution of indigenous art.”
In 2015, Native artists were invited to explore glass in a residency at MOG with expert glassblowers Dan and Raya Friday. Among the artists included in this special residency whose works were displayed in Transitions, were the artists of the Miller Family. Gerald (Bruce) Miller (subiyay) (1944-2005) was a renowned Skokomish artist, educator, and spiritual leader. He served as President of the Northwest Native American Basketweavers’ Association.
Born in 1957, Delbert Miller (sm3tcoom) is a singer, carver, drummer, and keeper of the Skokomish tribal ancestral history.
Shown above is Remembering the Ancestral Law (2018). This is blown and hot-sculpted glass. Shown above is Sacred Doorway (2015-2018). This is blown and sand-carved glass, painted cedar. Shown above is Family Outing (2015-2018) by Delbert Miller and Jack-lyn Smith. This is blown and sand-carved glass and hair. Shown above is Yayista (2015-2018) by Delbert Miller and Jack-lyn Smith. This is blown and sand-carved glass.
Born in 1980, Skokomish artist Jack-lyn Smith (wa’xWupkaya) has worked in a variety of art media.
hown above is Wealth Basket (2004). This is red cedar, raffia and cherry bark, and sweet grass. Shown above is Shared Wealth (2014). This is birch bark, porcupine quills, black ash, and sweet grass. Shown above is Untitled (2015) by Jack-lyn Smith, Edward John Smith, and Vera Smith. This is blown glass. Shown above is Salmon Gill (2015) by Jack-lyn Smith and Vera Smith. This is blown glass.
Born in 1964, Tina Kucckan-Miller (Bidanakwadokwe) is the founding Director of the House of Welcome Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College. She is affiliated with both the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (enrolled) and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Shown above is Doorway to the Sacred (2015) by Tina Kukkhan-Miller and Raya Friday (Lummi, born in 1977). This is blown glass. Shown above is Vessel of Knowledge (2015). This is blown glass, wool felt, sinew, and glass marbles.
John Edward Smith
Born in 1973, John Edward Smith (tad3lct) is a master canoe-maker, carver, and weaver. He was raised on both the Skokomish and Makah Indian Reservations.
Shown above is Serpent (2015-2018). This blown and sand-carved glass. Shown above is Untitled (2015-2018). This is blown and sand-carved glass. Shown above is Untitled (2015-2018). This is blown and sand-carved glass, maple, and yellow cedar.
Vera Louise Smith
Born in 2002, Vera Louise Smith (taqWitsa) learned the traditional Skokomish arts at an early age.