19th century Coast Salish spindle whorl, DeMenil private collection.
Today, Coast Salish artists continue to use traditional tools and techniques, but are also using computer graphics, laser cutters, power tools, silk screen and giclée prints, glass hot shops, foundries and more to bring both traditional and innovative forms to the 21st century.
Coast Salish artists have been commissioned to produce large scale public art installations that are viewable throughout the region. These include house posts and welcome figures, story poles and cast bronze sculptures. For additional examples, explore the interactive map of Coast Salish Art.
Art Inspired by Traditional Forms
Coast Salish spindle whorls housed in museum collections were studied by Susan Point, Stan Greene, Charles Elliott and other Coast Salish artists who sought to revitalize Coast Salish art in the late 20th century, a time when most Northwest Coast artists were working in more northern styles. The circular form of the whorl has continued to inspire many 21st century Coast Salish print makers.
Human with Thunderbirds, Stan Greene, Coast Salish/Semiahmoo, silk screen print, 1979, Margaret Blackman and Edwin S. Hall, Jr. collection, Burke Museum cat. no. 1998-90/317.
19th century Coast Salish spindle whorl, Canadian Museum of Civilization, cat. no. VIIG8.
Twin Thunderbirds, Susan Point, Musqueam, silk screen print, 1981, Simon Ottenberg collection, Burke Museum cat. no. 1992-48/2.
19th century spindle whorl, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, cat. no. 221179-E.
Leslie Wells (Coast Salish), Untitled, 1991, silk screen print, Simon Ottenberg collection, Burke Museum #1999-151/27.
Susan Point has also experimented with several designs inspired by a wooden comb in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
A four-legged animal is shown with a clear profile, its tail curled up over the head and negative crescents and trigons defining the ribs. Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 95-20-10/48393.
Point Print "Squirrel"
“Squirrel,” Susan Point, Musqueam, silkscreen print, 1989, Simon Ottenberg Collection, Burke Museum cat. no. 1997-123/10.
Suquamish elder Ed Carriere was inspired to weave his “Mountain, Lightning and Icicle” basket after studying a Suquamish basket in the Burke Museum collection in 1992.
Suquamish coiled basket, Burke Museum cat. no. 2.5E528.
Ed Carriere Basket
Suquamish elder Ed Carriere was inspired to weave his Mountain, Lightning and Icicle basket after studying a Suquamish basket in the Burke Museum collection in 1992. Burke Museum cat. no. 2007-5/1.