Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Pete Peterson, Sr. (Hoodsport) is a Skokomish tribal member; a Master Carver. His early beginning as an artist was work in silver and gold as a media almost forty years ago. In the broad context his work is described as a contemporary application of traditional art. His style, however, is unique and identifiable as his own in the one of a kind pieces of art he produces.

Peterson enlisted in the Navy at the age of seventeen. His four years of service proved to be a valuable educational arena. He was trained as a machinist and believes the training developed his manual dexterity plus his natural eye for detail thus opening the window to his work with silver and gold. After his discharge from the Navy, he worked as a logger in the Olympic Mountains for twenty years. It was during this period that he refined his special relationship with wood that prepared him for the task of gathering and harvesting the natural materials applied to the art he produces today.

Peterson has won many awards and honors during his career as an artist. In 1998 the Skokomish Tribe designated him as a Living Cultural treasure in ceremony. He served as Artist in Residence at The Evergreen State College from 1998 through the fall of 2003. He was awarded the prestigious Community Spirit Award by First Peoples Fund in 200312004 and a subsequent Cultural Fellowship Award from First Peoples Fund in 2006. These are national recognitions. He is a 2007 Governors Heritage Award winner in Washington State and a Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship Award winner in 2008. In 2007 he was awarded a Fellowship by the Fund For Folk Culture, another national recognition. He was also awarded a National Creative Development project award in 2007, funded by the Ford Foundation through the Evergreen State College Longhouse Cultural and Education Center. Additionally, he has been supported by endowments including those from The National Endowment For The Arts, and the Paul Allen Foundation, His works are in private and public collections internationally. Pete is self-trained as an artist.

Presently, Peterson’s artistic focus is on traditional bentwood boxes, masks, large Salish figures and other traditional carvings. It was Peterson who returned the bentwood box to the Skokomish community after an absence of one hundred years, His roots and
inspiration are found in his rich heritage; (in his connection to family, tribal community, his ancestors, and his connection to Mother Earth through the natural beauty and abundance she provides. He lives and works at Skokomish with his wife near their
children, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.