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James has been carving since 1993 and he attained much of his knowledge from his brother, Alvin Adkins. He is primarily known for his jewellery. James has been greatly influenced by Tahltan-Tlingit artist, Dempsey Bob and his mother, Margaret Adkins. In June of 2007, James collaborated with Vancouver designer Jason Dussault to create a line of exclusive jewellery that combined Haida imagery with pop-culture aesthetics. James makes many of his own engraving tools and his work is characterised by its heavy gauge, bold formlines and precision. His crests are Raven, Bear and Killerwhale.