Bent Cedar Box

Legacy of Artisanal Mastery

A Glimpse into James and his Artistry Journey

James Michels was born in Merritt, BC on July 29, 1969. He is of Métis/Cree decent. He began his carving career in 1994, shortly after working at a log home company. He now specializes in making steam-bent cedar boxes and carving and painting them in Northwest Coast style. Many of his pieces contain inlays of abalone. James also creates panels and works on commission. James apprenticed with Coast Salish artist, Joe Campbell, with whom he learned design, carving, and painting techniques. James also cites Carrier artist, Larry Rosso, as a source of inspiration.

One of his commissions involved the creation of custom bentwood boxes for the participants of the 2005 PGA Golf Skins Game in Whistler, BC. In 2006 after a devastating storm hit Stanley Park James was able to obtain old growth Stanley Park wood with the help from Global TV’s Clive Jackson. He created a thank you bent cedar box for billionaire Jim Pattison who generously matched all donations to repair and revitalize the park. Jim Pattison ordered 9 boxes from the same Stanley Park wood to gift to many dignitaries including Oprah and Al Gore. In July of 2008, James created a large bentwood box entitled The Mendl Gathering, which was commissioned through the Royal Bank of Canada. It measured 32” x 25” x 22” and contained abalone inlays and operculum shells. In 2012 James created a large 3 panel piece entitled The Watchmen and the Healers each panel measured 5”x3” for a total of 5”x10” for the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

James has created several logos one being SFU Beetie School of Business. He has created beautiful pieces for Paul Martin, Joni Mitchell, Bill Clinton, and Diana Krall. James is a founding partner of Lattimer Gallery's Annual Charity Bentwood Box Event that has raised over $860,000 to date.


Bent Cedar Box

Honouring Tradition

James Michels pays homage to his Aboriginal heritage through the timeless art of steamed bentwood. Drawing on centuries-old techniques, he meticulously crafts each piece to honour the cultural heritage and craftsmanship passed down through generations.

Bent Cedar Box

Connect With James Today

Ready to explore the artistry of Bent Cedar Box? Contact James Michels today to ask about custom orders or to learn more about his remarkable journey preserving Aboriginal art through steamed bentwood creations.