My name is James Reed. I am a 4th Generation Shipwright and Indigenous Artist raised and trained in the Pacific Northwest. “I am Kingsawin” of the Tongass Tribe of the Tlingit People. Our people originally came from Tongans Island and later moved to Ketchikan and Saxman Village. We are known as The People of the Tides a canoe culture of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Gunalchéesh for visiting my website!
I am from the Eagle Moiety and Bear Clan of Neix.ádi Clan (Eagle/Beaver/Halibut) . I come from Southeast Alaska, where for generations, our indigenous people have existed as mariners and canoe travelers, fishermen, hunters, gatherers, and traders. It was only natural for me to become a shipbuilder and artist like my Grandfather, Master Carver, Shipwright and Artisan, Charles “Charlie” Brown who was one of the master carvers of the totem poles in Saxman Village and at Tote, Bight State Park in Ketchikan, Alaska. My Great Grandfather William Brown, one of the last of the Tlingit Chiefs from Tongass Island, and he and Carver James Starrish also helped lead this great project to save the totem poles around Alaska.
Our Tribe has a rich heritage as craftsman and artists. Like my grandfather I studied boat building at Bates Vocational College in Tacoma Washington, where I received a certification in Boat Building. I also taught boat building at Northwest Indian College at the Lumi Nation for two years after receiving my associates degree.
I have lived on my sailboat, SV SpiritHawk for over twenty years. SpiritHawk is a beautiful wooden 1972 Pacific Northwest Schooner that I rescued from a boatyard in Seattle and rebuilt. She is currently undergoing a second refit and repair, with upgrades, as I am getting her ready to sail the Florida Keys and the Bahamas next year. You can follow the refitting process on facebook @sailingspirithawk at www.facebook.com/sailingspirithawk
I am often asked how I came to be known as Kingsawin. Our people are part of a matriarchal society. My Grandmother Margaret gave me my Indian name, Kingsawin, which I use as my artist name. It was my Great Uncle’s Charles Indian name and I consider it a great honor for me travel received this name. I am not the only grand child of Charles Brown as I have 3 siblings and have 5 first cousins living today, as I write this in 2022, along along with his great and great great grandchildren.
2020 was an interesting year with the Pandemic. I decided to put the Formline Eagle, Owl and Raven designs, that I had done as studies in a formline class. on Facemasks. We had so much fun designing them and many people enjoyed where a piece of art during this difficult pandemic time. In the process of creating the face masks, to sell in our Etsy Shop, we realized how many of our creative works could lend themselves to clothing. We started adding more art including prints, posters and active wear clothing to our spirit and totem animal collections. You can now purchase Kimonos, beanies, buffs, leggings and more featuring my art. We are thankful to the Great Mother for this opportunity and look forward to adding more designs. I am excited to introduce a line of jewelry and sculptures in 2023. We will post more about that in the near future. You may purchase my art on clothing and accessories in our Etsy Shop for Kingsawin Designs – click here or directly from our printing partner in our artist shop for Kingsawin Designs at Art of Where – click here.
Part of my plan as an emerging artist is to create a collective of Crypto NFT Art of North American Indigenous Artists as well as a project to benefit other Native Alaskan Artists and Tlingit Carvers in honor of my Grandfather Master Carver Charles Brown. Learn more about the Crypto Native Art Collective™ at www.cryptonativeart.com/
*Gunascheesh Definition: Thank You in Tlingit or Lingut as our language is known.
*Kootéeyaa : totem pole in Tlingit.