Haida Argillite Carvings: The Legacy of Jimmy Jones


Jimmy Jones, a renowned Haida artist from Skidegate, BC, has carved a stunning argillite halibut bowl. Priced at $850, this bowl exemplifies the exquisite craftsmanship of Haida artistry. In this article, we will explore the significance of argillite in Haida culture, the intricate carving process, and the legacy of Haida artists.

The Argillite Halibut Bowl by Jimmy Jones

Details of the Bowl

  • Dimensions: 8″ long, 4″ wide, and 1.5″ high.
  • Materials: Argillite with an abalone shell inlay.
  • Features: The bowl tapers on the underside and bears the artist’s signature.

Jimmy Jones’ argillite halibut bowl showcases the rich tradition of Haida carving. Notably, the abalone shell inlay adds a unique touch, enhancing the bowl’s visual appeal. Furthermore, the artist’s signature signifies authenticity and respect for Haida artistry.

The History of Argillite Carving

For around 200 years, Haida artists have crafted argillite sculptures. Traditionally, older craftsmen have passed down their knowledge through generations in the villages of Masset and Skidegate. Consequently, this shared knowledge has preserved the art of argillite carving.

What is Argillite?

  • Source: Argillite is a slate rock found on Slatechuck Mountain near Skidegate on Haida Gwaii.
  • Significance: Artists prefer argillite for its workability and the fine details it allows.

Legacy of Argillite Art

Argillite carvings hold significant cultural and historical value. Indeed, these carvings showcase the skill and creativity of Haida artists. As a result, the intricate details and innovative designs have made Haida argillite sculptures highly sought after by collectors and art enthusiasts.

The Process of Argillite Carving

Haida artists shape and carve argillite using a variety of tools, many of which are hand-made. The process involves several stages:

  1. Shaping: Initially, artists use coarser tools for shaping.
  2. Detailing: Subsequently, finer tools add intricate details.
  3. Polishing: Finally, fine abrasive materials polish out tool marks, giving the carving a smooth finish.

Inlay Techniques

In recent times, artists have incorporated inlay materials such as:

  • Ivory and Bone
  • Abalone Shell and Paua Shell
  • Catlinite

These inlays enhance the overall appearance and value of the carvings, thereby adding a modern touch to traditional techniques.

Contemporary Haida Argillite Sculptures

Over the past 50 years, Haida artists have continued to produce remarkable argillite sculptures. By blending traditional methods with contemporary materials, they keep the art form dynamic and evolving.


In conclusion, Jimmy Jones’ argillite halibut bowl is more than just a piece of art; it symbolizes cultural heritage and artistic excellence. The continued practice of argillite carving among Haida artists ensures that this unique art form remains vibrant and respected.

For more information on Haida argillite carvings and their history, refer to Argillite: Art of the Haida by Leslie Drew and Tribal Crafts.

argillite halibut bowl

Jimmy Jomes    Haida

Halibut bowl

Argillite & abalone shell – 8 x 4 x 1.5 inches