July 29, 1969
James Michels 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. One of his commissions involved the creation of custom bentwood boxes for the participants of the 2005 PGA Golf Skins Game in Whistler, BC. 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. 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 2013, James participated in Lattimer Gallery's Annual Charity Bentwood Box Event, wherein the sale of his box generated $1,600.00 CAD, which was donated to Vancouver's Urban Native Youth Association. James is also one of the founding partners of this event.