Published on January 27, 2014 by Amy
Donald Gregory is a Tlingit from Southeast Alaska. He is of the Raven Moiety and the Deisheetaan clan, whose crest is the Raven/Beaver, and comes from the Deishu Hit (End of the trail House) in Angoon, Alaska. Donald’s Tlingit name, Héendeí, translates as “In the water” and was given to him by Deisheetaan Elder Héendeí David Smith of Angoon.
Héendeí was first inspired into the art world as a child, and thus began a lifelong passion for art. His tutors and mentors include Amos Wallace, Ray Peck, Michael “Mick” Beasley, Richard “Rick” Beasley, Ed Kunz, Walter Bennett and Barry Smith, all well-known Tlingit artists from Southeast Alaska. He also studied form line and silver engraving under Master Artist Steve Brown from Washington State.
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His mediums of work span from wood, ivory, fossil whalebone, baleen argillite, pipestone, jade, buffalo horn, abalone shell, silver, gold, copper and fossil teeth. The addition of old trade beads to his creations give a unique Tlingit style to each piece, thus making each creation one of a kind.
Héendeí began collecting trade beads similar to those traded along the Northwest coast in the late 1800s and early 1900s when he was a young adult. His favorite trade beads are Russian Blues, Lewis and Clark feather beads, Venetian glass Vaselines, old blue cobalt glass beads and ivory beads.
Héendeí’s popular creations include trade bead necklaces with ivory pendants, ivory, wood and horn rattles, traditional wood halibut hooks, ivory scrimshaw, cribbage boards, ivory halibut hooks, ivory totem poles, ivory figurines, whalebone figurines, ivory and trade bead earrings, ivory and pipestone pipes, Tlingit wood paddles, plaques and wall panels, as well as traditional carved headdresses.
In addition to special orders, Héendeí specializes in ivory repair and can be commissioned for the reproduction of family heirlooms and clan artifacts.