These works were realized through collaboration between Lori Wilson and Connie Watts who have combined their eclectic experiences and skills to create a synergy of distinct expression through glass. 

People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed
only if there is a light from within.

~ Elizabeth Kübler-Ross ~

Lori Wilson

These works were inspired by the beautiful hand-crafted traditions of the women of the northwest coast and the hereditary implications that the button blankets hold. The elements involved in producing these works find a parallel in the process of assembling a button blanket; both are very precise and involve many layers and many steps. The development of the works in this series was affected by the transparency and the technology and logistics involved in creating and assembling the glass. The resulting work has a hand-crafted quality similar to the stitching on the button blanket.

Variations emerge from the glass-making process: some works use shards to compose the outside border, some have different colours on the four corners, and the button placement varies depending on the work. The elements that make up the composition are identical to a button blanket: the outside border frames the centre family crest, which brings life to the artwork. The borders do not contain the Northwest Coast designs. For colouration, the artists have held true to traditional button blankets: reds, greens, blues, black and white.

Creativity and Strength are contemporary interpretations of the traditional totem pole. The stratified nature of the work mimics the levels of images on a totem pole, with the top checkered/striped sections standing in for the watchmen traditionally seen on Westcoast First Nations totem poles. The bottom section of the glass works stands in for the base of the pole, and the centre animal designs appear on both the traditional and modern incarnations of this widely-recognized symbol of Northwest Coast Aboriginal culture.

Creativity features several animals which represent the different aspects of creativity. The raven has wisdom, knowledge and curiosity with bit of mischief, the bear is embracing and protective, and the hummingbird is full of charged energy. They are flanked top and bottom with moons, powerful and pulling. The checkered pattern that brackets the work represents a way of thinking, in pointillist sections.

Strength features animals such as the knowledgeable eagle, the loyal wolf, the guiding and intellectual sun, and the salmon of plenty. Instead of the moon, this artwork features the coppers, signifying prosperity and wealth. The stripes at the top and bottom of the work are a counterpoint to the checkers of Creativity, indicating a direct and channelled mode of thinking.

Button Blanket Series

Totem Series

Some men know that a light touch of the tongue, running from a woman's toes to her ears, lingering in the softest way possible in various places in between, given often enough and sincerely enough, would add immeasurably to world peace.  ~Marianne Williamson, "A Woman's Worth"

Each work depicts a different Goddess in two separate series: the seasons and states of passion. The goddess Fall is backed with leaves and is paired with Summer, who is surrounded by trees.  Winter with her snowflakes is paired with Spring who has the blossoms of trillium all around her. The goddesses of the passions Decadence and Desire epitomize those traits with their evocative poses and direct stares at the viewer. Decadence‘s lounging blue and aubergine female figure gives off the air of satisfaction.  The strong protective bear and the intelligent crafty raven represent her essence. Desire has the flirty streamlined female figure looking directly at her audience.  The animals, the active hunting wolf and the intuitive, problem solving sea otter reflect the personality of Desire.  The foundation for both Decadence and Desire is the triangle.  It is the strongest geometric shape and also is reminiscent of the ancient pyramids of Egypt.

The torso here represents the notion of home in human form. It is a shield, but a fragile one.  It contains a rejuvenating phoenix, a butterfly representing beauty, a sea otter for family, and also the core strengths of the tree of life and the powerful killer whale.



Watts realized that the Northwest Coast icons would evolve into invisible images or “ghosts”. The patterns and designs are inspired by indigenous women weavers. The intricate designs evoke the women who wove and the spirit animal that guided their work and their lives.  Although it honours these women the work retains fun and a sense of humour that historically has been vital part of the survival of First Nations culture. It is an invitation to remember and celebrate Northwest Coast artwork and lifestyle— vibrant, inventive, strong, pure, complex and intriguing.

Ghost Series