Myles Edgars, Haida Argillite Carver

Argillite is a black stone that is found only on Haida Gwaii (also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), an archipelago off the western coast of Canada. When argillite is removed from the ground it is soft enough to be carved with metal hand-tools. Once argillite dries out, though, it hardens.  Argillite is mined and carved only by the Haida.

Here are some of Myles' carving techniques:

A pattern is selected to make a pendant, then the outline is traced with a pencil onto a piece of argillite.

The pencil line is scored.

A jewelers saw cuts out the shape, the edges are filed, then the piece is glued to a support.

Details are drawn with a pencil.

The details are engraved, following the pencil lines. The carved piece is then sanded with wet/dry abrasive paper.

A hole is drilled, then a silver finding is inserted and glued in place.

The finished pendant is signed and dated.
For more information, see "Haida Argillite Carving," in Ornament, 2003, 26(4): 22-23. You may contact Myles at:

Box 488
British Columbia
Canada, VOT 1M0

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Web page, photographs, and text by Carol Ventura in 2001. Please look at Carol's home page to see more about crafts around the world.