Featured Woodland Artist: Zhaawaano Giizhik

Zhaawano Giizhik is a prolific Ojibwe Woodland (Legend) Artist who has applied the style borne from Norval Morriseau not just to paper utilizing pen/pencil and digital art. His art speaks volumes about the beauty of the Anishinabeg world.

Zhaawano Giizhik (Southern Cedar) was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1959 and  is a mixed blood (American /Dutch / Marten Clan - Sault Ste. Marie Ojibwe) who has recently stationed his studio and home life in the Netherlands.

 Footfalls on the Artist's Road: Zhaawano's Journey

Zhaawano began his journey into metal smithing in the 1980's, by teaching himself  basic soldering and stamp making from W. Ben Hunt's Indian Silversmithing. He began making jewelry "Navajo style" and also taught himself the techniques of Hopi overlay and Zuni stone setting. But who truly inspired his style of art was his Ojibwe ancestors and the father of Woodland School of Art - Norval Morriseau a Canadian born Ojibwe Legend painter. 

Zhaawano spent years honing his skills and began making jewelry in his home studio in the Netherlands in the 1990s where he creates his own style of  Anishinabe inspired jewelry which he calls (picto) graphic overlay.  Since 2005 Zhaawano has been creating his Anishinabe Woodland Style Wedding rings which he has gained an international audience / fan base for. *Photos and Art copyright held by Zhaawano Giizhik all rights reserved. *Used with permission from Zhaawaano Giizhik*

If you would like to peruse his website and buy his art click on the links below.

 

www.unieketrouwringen.nl

http://zhaawanart.blogspot.nl/

 

For your viewing pleasure below you can find photos of Zhaawaano Giizhik and his beautiful work. 

 

Zhaawano Giizhik  - Woodlands Style Metal smith, Jewelry Designer, Visual Artist and Writer  

Zhaawano Giizhik  - Woodlands Style Metal smith, Jewelry Designer, Visual Artist and Writer
 

MANDAAMIN (Sacred Plant) - Zhaawano Giizhik  ANISHINAABE-STYLE BOLO TIE. Oval sterling silver, turquoise, and red coral slide with sterling silver lanyard (sold). This unique silver overlay bolo tie I designed in honor of MANDAAMIN, or Maize, which, of all foods, became the most constant for the Anishinaabeg throughout the ages.  For further reading go to my art blog: http://zhaawanart.blogspot.com/2011/10/teaching-stories-part-4.html

MANDAAMIN (Sacred Plant) - Zhaawano Giizhik

ANISHINAABE-STYLE BOLO TIE. Oval sterling silver, turquoise, and red coral slide with sterling silver lanyard (sold).

This unique silver overlay bolo tie I designed in honor of MANDAAMIN, or Maize, which, of all foods, became the most constant for the Anishinaabeg throughout the ages.

For further reading go to my art blog: http://zhaawanart.blogspot.com/2011/10/teaching-stories-part-4.html

DIBEWAGENDAMOWIN ("REFLECTION"') - Zhaawano Giizhik Overlay sterling silver bracelet with a red coral cabochon set in the center. I like to think that the overlay technique, which, if executed well, results in minimalist designs of striking simplicity, provides a genuine depth of meaning to my pieces. I want the contrast and dramatic movement of black outlined forms and flowing lines to capture the core essence of what I am conveying. Which is: to render a metaphorical, or rather, hidden, meaning in a way that anyone can relate to the universal nature of the imagery. For further reading, go to: http://zhaawanart.blogspot.com/2011/11/reflections-of-great-lakes-part-3.html

DIBEWAGENDAMOWIN ("REFLECTION"') - Zhaawano Giizhik

Overlay sterling silver bracelet with a red coral cabochon set in the center.

I like to think that the overlay technique, which, if executed well, results in minimalist designs of striking simplicity, provides a genuine depth of meaning to my pieces. I want the contrast and dramatic movement of black outlined forms and flowing lines to capture the core essence of what I am conveying. Which is: to render a metaphorical, or rather, hidden, meaning in a way that anyone can relate to the universal nature of the imagery. For further reading, go to: http://zhaawanart.blogspot.com/2011/11/reflections-of-great-lakes-part-3.html

AANDI ENDANII-AG? - "Where Is It That You Dwell?"  - Zhaawano Giizhik Yellow gold, silver, titanium, turquoise, rose quartz, red coral, black onyx necklace. From the Manidoog ('Spirits') series. For further reading, go to http://zhaawanart.blogspot.com/2012/02/teaching-stories-part-5.html

AANDI ENDANII-AG? -

"Where Is It That You Dwell?"  - Zhaawano Giizhik

Yellow gold, silver, titanium, turquoise, rose quartz, red coral, black onyx necklace. From the Manidoog ('Spirits') series. For further reading, go to http://zhaawanart.blogspot.com/2012/02/teaching-stories-part-5.html

WIINDAMAAGIWIN- “Communication" - Zhaawano Giizhik   Sterling silver & red gold pendant (sold) Inspired by the late great Woodland Cree Medicine Painter Jackson Beardy (1944-1984) "This piece is a tribute to Jackson Beardy. The first paintings by him I ever laid eyes on were 'Communication' and ´Loon And Fish´. That was even before I saw the art of Norval... I was still a teenager, about 14 years old and they made a lasting impression on me. I have both reproductions hang on my wall next to my work bench." To learn more about Jackson Beardy, see: http://norvalmorrisseau.blogspot.nl/2011/08/honouring-jackson-beardy.html

WIINDAMAAGIWIN- “Communication" - Zhaawano Giizhik   Sterling silver & red gold pendant (sold)

Inspired by the late great Woodland Cree Medicine Painter Jackson Beardy (1944-1984)

"This piece is a tribute to Jackson Beardy. The first paintings by him I ever laid eyes on were 'Communication' and ´Loon And Fish´. That was even before I saw the art of Norval... I was still a teenager, about 14 years old and they made a lasting impression on me. I have both reproductions hang on my wall next to my work bench."

To learn more about Jackson Beardy, see: http://norvalmorrisseau.blogspot.nl/2011/08/honouring-jackson-beardy.html

SHKODE-WAABIGONII GIKINAWAAJINOWAAN N'ZAAGIWEWIN - "A Flower of Fire Symbolizes Our Love" - Zhaawano Giizhik Wedding rings of 14K yellow gold, the ladies’ ring is mounted with marquise-cut ruby. For additional information about these wedding rings, see:http://www.unieketrouwringen.nl/trouwringen/liefde/vuurbloem

SHKODE-WAABIGONII GIKINAWAAJINOWAAN N'ZAAGIWEWIN - "A Flower of Fire Symbolizes Our Love" - Zhaawano Giizhik

Wedding rings of 14K yellow gold, the ladies’ ring is mounted with marquise-cut ruby.

For additional information about these wedding rings, see:http://www.unieketrouwringen.nl/trouwringen/liefde/vuurbloem

MAKINAAK IDASH MA’IINGAN “Turtle And Wolf” - Zhaawano Giizhik Sterling silver, yellow gold, turquoise & red coral hair pin (sold). ZhaawanArt jewelry by Zhaawano Giizhik. For further reading go to: http://zhaawanart.blogspot.com/2012/02/zhaawanos-teaching-stories-part-6.html

MAKINAAK IDASH MA’IINGAN

“Turtle And Wolf” - Zhaawano Giizhik

Sterling silver, yellow gold, turquoise & red coral hair pin (sold). ZhaawanArt jewelry by Zhaawano Giizhik.

For further reading go to: http://zhaawanart.blogspot.com/2012/02/zhaawanos-teaching-stories-part-6.html

MANOOMIN - “Spirit of the Wild Rice” - Zhaawano Giizhik Interior of bracelet http://zhaawanart.blogspot.nl/2012/07/spirit-of-manoomin-by-way-of-blog.html

MANOOMIN - “Spirit of the Wild Rice” - Zhaawano Giizhik

Interior of bracelet

http://zhaawanart.blogspot.nl/2012/07/spirit-of-manoomin-by-way-of-blog.html

WAAWIYEKAAMIG MADWEWE - “Sound of the Universe” - Zhaawano Giizhik  From the Mother Earth series. Overlay wedding bands of 14 K white gold  (the men´s ring) and white gold and red gold (the women´s ring) with an interior of 14K warm yellow gold. Traditionally, Anishinaabe people have always been aware of an existence in the cosmos that vibrates with a sacred, creative energy. The sum of this cosmological energy - or manidoo (‘spirit’) -  is called Gichi-Manidoo: literally ‘Great Mystery’. This sacred existence  the jeweler tried to express in these multicolor gold overlay wedding bands. The graphic, waving yellow gold  ‘earth line’ that runs across the surface of both wedding rings and which shows characteristics of the earth surface as well as the human body, symbolically connects the individual to the cosmos through a ‘sound’  that represents all aspects of Gichi-Manidoo. Anishinaabeg believe it is important that we re-connect our voice with Creation on a regular base; this is called  ‘aanji-nkweshkamong enweying shka-kimi-kweng’. One side of the rings – not visible in the image - displays a heartbeat graphic symbolizing the heartbeat of our mother the Earth; on the other side - visible on the men´s ring - the jeweler constructed a stylized design of miinikaan – a seed of inlaid red gold representing the first sound of Creation in the morning. The stylized heartbeat designs in the rings symbolize the heartbeat of our mother the Earth, and at the same time the heartbeat of both life partners and all creatures with which they find themselves surrounded; a combined sound of countless hearts filling the Universe, each pulsing at its own speed, but each a part of the whole.

WAAWIYEKAAMIG MADWEWE - “Sound of the Universe” - Zhaawano Giizhik

From the Mother Earth series. Overlay wedding bands of 14 K white gold  (the men´s ring) and white gold and red gold (the women´s ring) with an interior of 14K warm yellow gold.

Traditionally, Anishinaabe people have always been aware of an existence in the cosmos that vibrates with a sacred, creative energy. The sum of this cosmological energy - or manidoo (‘spirit’) -  is called Gichi-Manidoo: literally ‘Great Mystery’. This sacred existence  the jeweler tried to express in these multicolor gold overlay wedding bands.

The graphic, waving yellow gold  ‘earth line’ that runs across the surface of both wedding rings and which shows characteristics of the earth surface as well as the human body, symbolically connects the individual to the cosmos through a ‘sound’  that represents all aspects of Gichi-Manidoo. Anishinaabeg believe it is important that we re-connect our voice with Creation on a regular base; this is called  ‘aanji-nkweshkamong enweying shka-kimi-kweng’.

One side of the rings – not visible in the image - displays a heartbeat graphic symbolizing the heartbeat of our mother the Earth; on the other side - visible on the men´s ring - the jeweler constructed a stylized design of miinikaan – a seed of inlaid red gold representing the first sound of Creation in the morning.

The stylized heartbeat designs in the rings symbolize the heartbeat of our mother the Earth, and at the same time the heartbeat of both life partners and all creatures with which they find themselves surrounded; a combined sound of countless hearts filling the Universe, each pulsing at its own speed, but each a part of the whole.

MANIDOO NAGAMON - “The Spirit Sings” - Zhaawano Giizhik  Double-sided overlay gold pendant:  18K yellow gold, sterling silver, 14K red gold inlay, 25x20 mm (0.1 x 0.08 inch). Dubbelzijdige hanger van gelaagd 18K geelgoud en 1e gehalte zilver, 14 K roodgouden inlegwerk, 20x24 mm. As an artist and jeweler I draw on the oral and pictorial traditions of my Ojibwe Anishinaabe ancestors from the American Great Lakes area. The MAZINAAJIM or ‘pictorial spirit writings’ - which are rich with Anishinaabe symbolism and have been painted and carved throughout history on rocks and etched on other sacred items such as birch bark, copper and slate, and animal hide - were a form of spiritual as well as educational communication that gave structure and meaning to the cosmos. Many of these sacred pictographs or petroforms – some of which are perhaps two millennia or at least many, many  generations old - hide in locations where the manidoog (spirits) reside, particularly in those mystic places near the coastline where the sky, the earth, the water, the underground, and the underwater meet. It is here, in those rocky sanctuaries near the lakes or in hidden domains in the very depth of the woods – sometimes circular glades in the middle of pine and cedar tree woods formed by little spirits, such as bagwajininiwag  (“little wild men”), – that men and women  who are seeking a vision quest, searching for solitude and yielding to the quiet mystery of the lake’s and forest’s existence, are welcomed by the spirits. "In my song, you hear my soul-spirit In my dance, see its rhythm In my ceremony, feel its depth" ~ Basil Johnston See also: http://www.unieketrouwringen.nl/sieraden/trouwringen-alternatieven

MANIDOO NAGAMON - “The Spirit Sings”

- Zhaawano Giizhik