Travis Henry | Artistic Style and Kwakwaka’wakw Carvings

Travis Henry | Artistic Style and Kwakwaka’wakw Carvings

About Travis Henry

Travis Henry is an Indigenous artist from British Columbia’s Cowichan Valley. In 1982, he was mentored by Paddy Seaweed and trained with the rest of the Seaweed family. Currently, Travis lives in Langford with his family and you can find his work all across the globe, including Artina’s Jewellery in Victoria, BC.

Those who know Travis personally would describe him as friendly and down to earth. Artina’s Jewellery loves his enthusiasm for new challenges and energetic demeanor. He is also Artina’s primary creator of sterling silver bead charms.

Many popular symbols in Indigenous culture are used to represent the family lineage. Henry’s family crest is the Sun. This is a very unique crest among northwest Indigenous tribes (Alexander Dawkins, 2014.) The symbolism of the Sun can differ depending on the artist and tribe. Although wearing one’s family crest has very distinct cultural protocols and connotations, retail jewellery is not held to the same standard. 

Also Read: The Sun Symbolism | Indigenous Art & Jewellery

young woman wearing indigenous-made jewellery

Model wearing Travis Henry's jewellery and layered with basic chains.

1. Spoon Eagle Earrings

2. Orca Spiral Pendant

3. Raven Spirit bead

To see Travis Henry’s work, you can visit his artist page here


Travis Henry’s Style

Travis uses the Kwakwaka’wakw (pronounced Kwak-wak-ya-wak) style when carving. Kwakwaka’wakw is one of the more distinct artistic styles from the northwest coast. From the use of bright colours to heavy expressions, Coast Salish Peoples have developed and passed down this art style for thousands of years. 

Kwakwaka’wakw art is two-dimensional and uses negative space to create its designs. The artist works to carve away the material to reveal an animal, human, or supernatural being. Although Kwakwaka’wakw artists make use of many materials from bone to wood, Travis is known for his work with sterling silver and gold. 

Travis Henry rings (from top to bottom) hummingbird, raven, and eagle rings

To an unknowing eye, all these rings appear to be just birds. However, Kwakwaka’wakw carvers use very specific details to identify the figure.  

1. Humming bird ring

2. Eagle ring

3. Raven ring

Travis's traditional style is apparent in his use of crisp, clean lines. If you like more minimal jewellery with close attention to detail, be sure to take a look at Travis’s collection

Travis Henry's Bear and Wolf rings

1. Bear ring (shorter snout)

2. Wolf ring (longer snout)

About The Kwakwaka’wakw Art Style

Kwakwaka’wakw style carving. Travis Henry's Moon Bracelet, Hummingbird ring, Raven ring, and Eagle ring

1. Moon and Wolf Bracelet 

These designs make more use of negative space rather than lines and shapes. Unlike formline style (popular among Haida artists,) you can see clear silhouettes and longer lines in Kwakwaka’wakw work like Henry’s.

Carving is an ancient tradition for Coast Salish artists. This art style utilizes ovals, trigons, crescents, and extended crescents (Shaun Peterson, 2015.) These soft curves and shapes are how the carvings get their sense of movement and whimsy. This is also how the figures get their expressive facial features. 


Artina’s Jewellery can be found on the traditional territory of the Songhees, Esquimalt, and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day. We acknowledge and respect the lək̓ʷəŋən Peoples on whose land we currently reside.

Artina’s Jewellery recognizes that colonization, policies, and institutions have significantly changed Indigenous Peoples’ relationships with galleries. For many years, colonial ideologies upheld by museums were used to exclude Indigenous artists, their work, and their voices.

Today we acknowledge that in order to break the colonial lens that’s restricted Indigenous artists throughout history, we must represent Indigenous art mindfully. Artina’s wishes to act as a gallery featuring various artists from all across Canada. Our mission is to share, respect, and better appreciate Indigenous art.  

We promise to respect and uphold our relationship with Indigenous artists by continually supporting their art and challenging colonial biases. 

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