James Michels

James Michels was born and raised in Merritt, British Columbia, and became interested in Native Art at the age of sixteen. Traveling as a young man through Western Canada, James was able to observe different artists and their works.

Later on, while employed at a log home company in 1994, he gained the experience with tools and materials that enabled him to begin carving. He has apprenticed with acclaimed Coast Salish artist Joseph Campbell and cites Carrier artist Larry Rosso as a source of inspiration. This developed into an interest in bentwood boxes, which has become his specialty. 

James created custom bent boxes for the participants of the 2005 PGA Golf Skins Game in Whistler, BC. In 2008, he created a large bentwood box for the Royal Bank of Canada called "The Mendl Gathering," which contained only inlays and operculum shells.

James' bent boxes can be found in many of the most notable Northwest Coast galleries in North America, as well as in private collections around the world. He has been commissioned by clients such as the Canadian Federal Government, former Prime Minister Paul Martin, former President Bill Clinton, Jim Pattison, and singing legend Joni Mitchell.

10 items

Bear Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Bear is a dominant crest symbol. Bears are closely related to humans especially when standing on ...

Bear is a dominant crest symbol. Bears are closely related to humans especially when standing on their hind legs, bridging the human and non-human realms. Their strength and intelligence are universally respected and they are considered to be helping spirits of warriors. Bear is often depicted with a short snout, round paws, stubby tail and bared teeth.

$200.00

Bear Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Bear is a dominant crest symbol. Bears are closely related to humans especially when standing on ...

Bear is a dominant crest symbol. Bears are closely related to humans especially when standing on their hind legs, bridging the human and non-human realms. Their strength and intelligence are universally respected and they are considered to be helping spirits of warriors. Bear is often depicted with a short snout, round paws, stubby tail and bared teeth.

$200.00

Eagle Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Eagle is one of the most important beings in the art and mythology of the Northwest Coast. It is ...

Eagle is one of the most important beings in the art and mythology of the Northwest Coast. It is respected for its intel­ligence and power, as well as its extraordinary vision, in both the literal and figurative senses. Eagles in myth are, likewise, usu­ally noble characters. Eagle is revered as a powerful hunter. Groups of mythical Eagles may gather for co-operative whale hunting expeditions, since, unlike the giant Thunderbird, Eagle is not strong enough to hunt whales alone. Eagle may ofte...

$500.00

Eagle Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Eagle is one of the most important beings in the art and mythology of the Northwest Coast. It is ...

Eagle is one of the most important beings in the art and mythology of the Northwest Coast. It is respected for its intel­ligence and power, as well as its extraordinary vision, in both the literal and figurative senses. Eagles in myth are, likewise, usu­ally noble characters. Eagle is revered as a powerful hunter. Groups of mythical Eagles may gather for co-operative whale hunting expeditions, since, unlike the giant Thunderbird, Eagle is not strong enough to hunt whales alone. Eagle may ofte...

$900.00

Frog Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Frogs are both social, vocal and are associated with the power of transformation and the ability ...

Frogs are both social, vocal and are associated with the power of transformation and the ability to traverse worlds. As the primary spirit helpers of shamans, frogs are communicators and often represent the voice of the people. Frogs were often carved at the top of totem poles to symbolize the communication of warnings or impending danger. Frog is generally given large eyes, prominent lips with a projecting tongue and webbed feet.

$200.00

Frog Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Frogs are both social, vocal and are associated with the power of transformation and the ability ...

Frogs are both social, vocal and are associated with the power of transformation and the ability to traverse worlds. As the primary spirit helpers of shamans, frogs are communicators and often represent the voice of the people. Frogs were often carved at the top of totem poles to symbolize the communication of warnings or impending danger. Frog is generally given large eyes, prominent lips with a projecting tongue and webbed feet.

$200.00

Raven Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Raven is central to coastal mythology. As a culture hero, a transformer, and a trickster, his adv...

Raven is central to coastal mythology. As a culture hero, a transformer, and a trickster, his adventures at the beginning of time released the sun and the moon and brought the world into existence. Raven is identified by its straight beak and lack of ears or plumage on the head.

$500.00

Salmon Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Salmon are fundamental to all coastal peoples and are a symbol of regeneration and life. Many myt...

Salmon are fundamental to all coastal peoples and are a symbol of regeneration and life. Many myths tell of people taken to the undersea world of the Salmon who return with secret knowledge and powers. According to Salish legends, the salmon were people with superhuman abilities and eternal lives. They lived in great houses under the ocean but since they knew that humans on land needed food, they offered themselves to the land-based tribes as food by turning into salmon fish. Their spirits we...

$200.00

Salmon Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

Salmon are fundamental to all coastal peoples and are a symbol of regeneration and life. Many myt...

Salmon are fundamental to all coastal peoples and are a symbol of regeneration and life. Many myths tell of people taken to the undersea world of the Salmon who return with secret knowledge and powers. According to Salish legends, the salmon were people with superhuman abilities and eternal lives. They lived in great houses under the ocean but since they knew that humans on land needed food, they offered themselves to the land-based tribes as food by turning into salmon fish. Their spirits we...

$200.00

Split Eagle Bentwood Box
James Michels (Metis)

This box is also available with painted black lid and base.Eagle is one of the most important bei...

This box is also available with painted black lid and base.Eagle is one of the most important beings in the art and mythology of the Northwest Coast. It is respected for its intel­ligence and power, as well as its extraordinary vision, in both the literal and figurative senses. Eagles in myth are, likewise, usu­ally noble characters. Eagle is revered as a powerful hunter. Groups of mythical Eagles may gather for co-operative whale hunting expeditions, since, unlike the giant Thunderbird, Eagl...

$200.00