top of page

About Our Artists



Calvin Begay

An award-winning artist, jeweler designer and master craftsman Calvin was born in Gallup,
New Mexico in 1965 and raised in Tohatchi in northwestern New Mexico.


Calvin designed his first piece of jewelry at the age of 10, learning from his mother and uncle.  In more than 20 years as a jewelry designer and craftsman, he has become a master in every aspect of the design and manufacturing process, winning numerous awards at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial including Best of Show 1989.  His jewelry has been featured in Arizona Highway and Southwest Art magazines.

This gifted artist continually innovates and updates his designs, working in both gold and silver and adding new motifs and stones to his repertoire.  In his leisure time, Calvin participates in rodeos and rides in the backcountry in his all-terrain vehicles.  When he creates jewelry that wild free spirit finds expression in previous metals and stone.

He has a unique ability to translate Navajo inlay techniques into that which reflects his Native American heritage, yet have elegant and contemporary flair.  Calvin’s work is prized by clients and collectors, not only in the Southwest, but throughout the United States and the world.  In the artistry of Calvin Begay the stunning beauty of the untamed West is reflected in the combination of color and design that creates unforgettable pieces of wearable art.  


Charles Carnahan

Charles “Chuck” Carnahan was born in 1958 in Salem, Oregon, but has made his home in Alaska since 1961.  His interest in art has been with him for as long as he can remember.  His early experience with artistic expression was strictly in two dimensional drawing - both with pencil and pen and ink.  He started working in three dimensions soon after finishing high school and has been at it ever since.

Along with his interest in art, Carnahan has been keenly fascinated with the out of doors since early childhood.  Being raised in Alaska he has had ample opportunity to view the wildlife and the lifestyles of the Alaskan people on a firsthand basis.  During his high school and college years he devoted considerable time to hunting fishing and fur trapping.

By 1980, Carnahan soon realized the bulk of his living from the sale of his ivory and stone carvings.  Additionally, in 1986 he became a registered hunting guide in Alaska.  For the last 18 years he has been supporting his family with a combination of seasonal guiding and sculpting.

His works are marked by a distinctive style and use of unique Alaskan fossil materials such as walrus bone, whale bone ivory and shed antler. His artistic vision has been finely honed through his immersion with wildlife, nature, and the traditions of Alaska and its history.

Mr. Carnahan’s work has graced the homes of collectors worldwide and, yet, so far has been represented exclusively in Alaska from Fairbanks to Ketchikan.  The work of Charles Carnahan is signed most often simply as “Chuck” or less frequently as Chuck Carnahan.



Born in Cambodia, and by the age of 12, Chivly (nickname Chup) became an orphan after his parents and four siblings perished from starvation.  His remaining family knew their only hope was a dangerous and desperate escape to Thailand, on foot, hiding from the murderous communists, who would have killed them instantly if caught. Exhausted, but seemingly safe at the border of Thailand, their dream of freedom was short lived when they were interred in a refugee camp.

Conditions were meager, and Chivly had time on his hands, and there was no school. Now almost 14 he turned to carving to occupy his time and his mind, using any material he could scavenge in the camp; sometimes wood, sometimes stone or precious ivory. He also sold the finished works to passing visitors, providing money to supplement the family food ration.

During this time of ponderous waiting and hoping, he encountered a striking picture of Alaska. He was absolutely fascinated that the Eskimos looked very much like his own people. The difference, however, was that these people were bundled in furs for protection from the cold frozen land.  He had never seen snow, and marveled at what it must be like to live in such an alien place. The thought of traveling to Alaska, a place so unlike the life he had to endure gave Chivly a desire that kept his hope alive.  He promised himself that he would one day see Alaska.

After 2 years of waiting in the camp, his family received sponsorship from an American family. He and his surviving brother and sister were gratefully beyond words at the opportunity to begin a new life. At age 17, Chivly finally settled in Seattle where he attended Edmonds High School. He continued to refine his carving style and could at long last begin to satisfy his thirst for more information about Eskimo peoples and Alaska. He studied the history of the Native peoples, their culture, village life and their art.  His sculptures also reflected the wildlife and landscape of the region. When he was 20 years old he realized his life sustaining dream and ambition seeing Alaska firsthand. He traveled throughout the state, absorbing its incredible beauty with an intensity as only an artist of his character could.

The experience moved this sensitive man as nothing yet in his life had. Chivly’s creative spirit had at last found a home and subject big enough to express his joy at being alive. After a time, Chivly took his family to remote Emmonak, Alaska near the Bering Sea where he taught carving and current production techniques to villagers. He smiles and proudly points to the photographs of him bundled up in parkas and furs fishing in the subzero weather.

His dream has come true. Chup, his wife, son and little daughter, Junie, now prosper in Juneau where Chupak Carving Arts has developed a state-of-the-art studio in which Chivly can work and continue to teach carving – passing on his love for this exacting art form to his extended family.

Chupak works with an immense variety of fossil whale bone, walrus bone antler and ivory to create one-of-a-kind stunning sculptures that bring continuing life to the culture, traditions and way of life of his adopted native people.

After enduring so much throughout his incredible journey the word “home” has special meaning for Chup, as he has come to love and revere his adopted Alaska, where he can live, work and raise a family in the freedom of this great land.  Alaska is truly the “Great Land” to Chupak.

Skagway’s Golden Bear is blessed to represent the museum quality art and works of Chupak.


Greg Lawrence Miller

Although born in Tucson, Arizona, Greg Lawrence Miller’s family settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1963. During those formative years in New Mexico, he became captivated by the rich diversity of native cultures, art forms and expressions. Those discoveries and experiences heavily influenced his early attraction to art and design. It was apparent early on that Greg’s imminent future was truly born in his youth as he experimented with various forms of creativity.

Fueled with natural talent and self-taught skill, Greg Lawrence pursued his passion for artistic design at the University of Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico, majoring in both commercial and fine arts. Following academic study, his creative integrity flourished as art director for a high profile advertising agency and also as a commercial photographer and creative director of design. Throughout those early years Greg held firm to his dream deep conviction that someday he would build his own design studio.

True to his dream, Studio GL was launched in 1997 as the natural sequel, culmination and destiny to Greg’s artistic background. The recipient of numerous national and international design awards, Greg’s passion for the Southwest culture and history has fine-tuned his imaginative jewelry creations. His major interest lies in designing contemporary one-of-a-kind jewelry influenced by ethnic American Indian design and Western geometric patterns. His work is not for people who prefer the familiar or traditional, but rather for those who revel in one of a kind artistic surprise.

A person of curiosity and ingenuity Greg Lawrence Miller continually explores new avenues to apply his talents and original ideas in the celebrated union of fine gems and metals. Listed amongst his creative innovations is his sculptured stone inlay that requires a very intricate and detailed process that brings a three dimensional concept to his artistic shape, form and expression.

Your purchase of a Greg Lawrence Miller heirloom quality art will bring you a lifetime of pleasure and many compliments. Greg Lawrence Miller is a multiple award winning artist and designer.

Golden Bear is proud to represent Greg’s work exclusively in Alaska.



     Tribal Name:  Nasoalook and Delutak

     Tribal Affiliation: Inupiat (Shaktoolik)

John Nasoalook Tepton was born in Shaktoolik, a small village along the Bering Sea coast near Nome Alaska. Now, age 63 Nasoalook was taught the art of ivory carving by his father, beginning at a very young age. Over the years, he has blossomed into one of the premiere native Alaskan artists due to his sense of original design, use of mixed materials and precise attention to detail in each piece he creates. The unique traditional, cultural and spiritual mythologies, reflective of the clans and peoples of the  north are beautifully stated by this gifted artist.

He currently resides in Anchorage where he creates his fabulous native spirit masks under his Inupiat name, Nasoalook. His current repertoire includes art pieces in ivory, wood, fossilized whalebone, and, occasionally, soapstone. He has been creating art for more than 35+ years.

About Shaktoolik: Located on the east shore of Norton Sound. It lies 125 miles east of Nome and 33 miles nrth of Unalakleet. Shaktoolik was the first and southernmost Malemiut settlement on Norton Sound, occupied as early as 1839. Twelve miles northeast, on Cape Denbigh, is “lyatayet,” a site that is 6,000 to 8,000 years old. Reindeer herds were managed in the Shaktoolik area around 1905. The village was originally located six miles up the Shaktoolik River and moved to the mouth of the river in 1933. This site was prone to severe storms and winds however, and the village relocated to its present, more sheltered location in 1967. The city was incorporated in 1969.

It is a Malemiut Eskimo village with a fishing and subsistence lifestyle.


Sharon Penn

This very unique vase is molded and torn by hand to create a unique one-of-a-kind design. Each vase is hand painted and signed by the artist.

The “Stone Like” finish is achieved with a unique textural glaze that comes in many colors. Each vase is inlaid with 22K gold and has been through a minimum of three firings at temperatures as high as 1880 degrees.

This new collection of vases, featuring Alaskan wildlife designs, was created for Gold Bear Gallery.  

About the Artist

Sharon Penn was born in 1961. She attended class in Florida where she became only one of 25 certified teachers for the difficult Satellite Textural Glaze process.

She meticulously hand carves each vase, and has been credited with many awards for her exceptional works of art.


Sharon Penn and Golden Bear wish you a life time of enjoyment with your new vase.


Mary Seppilu

Mary Seppilu, is a Native Yup’ik Alaskan Indian, residing in Savoonga, Alaska, as has many generations of her family. She is a member of a clan that specializes in walrus ivory dogsled carvings. Her carvings are marked by their beautiful detailed scrimshaw story and colorful dogs exquisitely carved from fossil Wooly Mammoth ivory. Members of the Seppilu clan include Julian and Levi, who are also talented ivory scrimshaw carvers. The works of Mary Seppilu are highly prized for the superior quality of her meticulous sculpting and the individual character of each element comprising the dog sled.

Savoonga, Alaska – St. Lawrence Island

Savoonga, Alaska is located on the northern coast of St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. It is 38 to 39 miles southeast of Gambell and 164 miles west of Nome. The geographical coordinates for Savoonga are 63 degrees 42 minutes North, 170 degrees 29 minutes West.


Culture and History. St. Lawrence Island has been inhabited for several thousand years, although its Natives had little contact with the rest of the world until European traders began to frequent the area. A herd of 70 reindeer was introduced to the island in 1900 and grew substantially in numbers over the next 40 years, increasing to a peak of 10,000 animals. The herd’s tendency to remain on the eastern side of the island made management from Gambell impossible. In 1916, a reindeer camp was set up at Savoonga, four miles west of the old Eskimo village of Kookoolik and the area’s good hunting and trapping attracted more residents. A U.S. post office was established in Savoonga in 1934. Savoonga’s 1990 population was 519. Savoonga was incorporated as a second class city in 1969.  It is locted in the unorganized borough.

Tribal government affairs are conducted by an IRA council. The Native community is also served by Bering Straits Native Corporation and Kawerak Corporation, both of which are located in Nome.

Because of its isolation, a unique culture developed. Even today, residents remain almost completely bilingual, with the Native dialect, St. Lawrence Island or Siberian Yupik, being the preferred language for almost all domestic conversation.  


Tiny Spencer

Tiny Spencer started making knives in 1987 and was a professional, full-time knife maker from 1993 to 2009.  A resident of Alaska for 25 years, he worked as a taxidermist, guide/outfitter and bush pilot. He divided his time between Alaska and his studio on the north coast of Oregon.

Tiny’s knife blades were relief ground and Rockwell hardened to 58. He worked exclusively with 440C stainless steel, after serious metal trials and experiments convinced him that 440C was far superior to other steel composites, including D2.

His exquisite one-of-a- kind knives are each custom designed and shaped, with the metal blades meticulously hand sanded to a brilliant mirror finish. Brass guards and butts are hand-filed and shaped. Tiny’s trademark handle material is rare fossil walrus ivory and woolly mammoth tooth. He occasionally hand engraved the brass guard and stainless blade using hammer and chisel. Additionally, Tiny Spencer fashioned many of his handles from ancient artifacts gathered from Alaskan Eskimo and Indian digs.

His knives are highly prized as “masterpieces” by serious knife collectors worldwide.

Tiny Spencer passed away August 2009.


Edward Wizenteck -  Master Knife Maker

The unique and original art of the Wizenteck knife began four generations ago in Alaska. Edward’s great grandfather is originally of Polish descent and began blacksmithing in the upper Midwest, eventually settling for a time in the Chicago area at the turn of the century. During this time, Edward’s great grandfather married an Ojibwa Indian from the Lac Courte Oreilles band. The tradition of the Wizenteck brothers marrying Lac Courte Oreille continued through the next two generations, thereby making Edward’s bloodline 50% Native American.

After coming to Alaska for opportunity and to blacksmith for the booming logging and fishing industries, the Wizentecks soon received numerous requests to make knives for the fishers, loggers and hunters that came to Alaska, and thus entering a new chapter in their lives - “The Art of Knife Making”. They began by creating knives from discarded and abandoned high carbon mill files from the old logging camps.

Today Edward Wizenteck has carried the family name to soaring new heights in knife making, setting a true world class benchmark for the craft. Using top grade 440C steel, and continuing the family tradition of using antique high carbon mill files custom craft and design each blade into a one-of-a-kind work of art. Materials for the handles include Caribou antler, Caribou shin bone boiled and cured in wild Alaskan berries, and vegetation for character and color. In addition you will find the Wizenteck collection uses beautifu,l rich-looking exotic woods such as burl walnut, pecan, rosewood, ebony and silver oak.

Each creation in Edward’s knife art is a true one of a kind -- a collection that will sustain its value and will add a magnificent dimension to a seasoned collector or someone just beginning.

Gold Bear is proud to represent Ed Wizenteck and his” Art of Knife Making” exclusively in Alaska.


Prehistoric Woolly Mammoth or Mastodon IVORY Jewelry

This jewelry is made of hand-carved and hand-polished prehistoric woolly mammoth or mastodon ivory.

Wooly Mammoth and Mastodon Ivory is identified by a crosshatch pattern in the grains known as Schreger lines. Many fossil mammoth and mastodon tusks are often found exposed on eroding river banks in the interior of Alaska, Siberia and other arctic regions. Ivory from the huge mastodon and mammoth can be as old as 200,000 years! The woolly mammoth tusk is distinguished by a very curved shape while the mastodon tusk follows a much straighter line. In Alaska, the mammoth and mastodon reached such a state of overdevelopment that their tusks were sometimes so large and heavy, they had to be pushed ahead as the beast walked. Mastodon and mammoth tusks have been known to weigh 200-300 lbs and to be ten feet long. Woolly mammoth ivory is Alaska’s official state fossil.



bottom of page