Today we venture to Washington State taking in the scenic and historical location known as Chinook Point. A one-time camping place during the 19th century to members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Chinook Point presently comprises the Fort Columbia State Park. Washington State is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Corey W. Moraes.
Though not the progeny of esteemed artists, Moraes felt a connection to the representational, and abstract crafts of his Tsimshian heritage.
His extensive research into the art forms of his ancestors awakened within him a latent creative energy.
"As far as I know, there weren't any artists in my family. In 1995, when I was twenty-five years old, I got interested in looking into my background. I am of Tsimshian descent, and I went to museums and galleries and I also read books about my ancestors," says Moraes.
"As I looked at the crafts, I had an epiphany. I felt a connection between me and the designs I saw; these ancient pieces spoke to me."
The self-taught designer, presently based in Vancouver, Canada, learned complex Tsimshian woodcarving, creating such items as drums and cedar chests.
Over the course of 15 years, Moraes also became adept at metalsmithing wherein he implements beautiful, intricate engravings on the surface of gold and silver jewelry items.
What I find most striking about Native American jewelry--from the work of Denise and Dawn Wallace to Ron Henry--is the deep-set mysticism of its metaphysical and nature-based symbolism. This sense of spirituality and abstract yet vivid storytelling through symbols makes the jewelry inherently powerful.
Due to this--the combination of exceptional artisanship and an ancient visual language--I have a profound response to Native American pieces. Moraes, no doubt, strives to produce high quality objects, jewelry or otherwise, that give honor to his heritage.
"It's my hope that every time I create a piece, it will live on long after I'm gone from this earth."
His website is currently under construction; however, you can view his range of work via his FaceBook and Flickr pages.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Brentwood Box Bracelet
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Abstract Design Pendant