Abstract Feast Box

Joslyn Williams

Red cedar, paint
17" x 14" x 14"


Joslyn Williams is a Nuu-chah-nulth carver.

Bentwood boxes
Prior to contact with Europeans and the introduction of metal tools, northwest coast artisans developed an ingenious woodworking technique. It involves grooving, steaming, and bending a single wooden plank to form the sides of a box. Three corners of the box are bent and the fourth is pegged or tied (or in more recent times, glued,) and a bottom is added. Artists decorate these boxes with shallow relief carvings and often use paint to add to the design. Lids are commonly left plain or undecorated. Boxes are typically made from cedar (red or yellow) or spruce. The boxes are prized possessions, customarily used to house wealth and ceremonial objects. People often give names to their decorated boxes, tell stories about their histories and treat them as important heirlooms.

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