Dennis Allen

Dennis Allen is a member of the Skokomish Tribe. The son of William Allen and Rosie Pulsifer, he was born in Shelton, Washington, in 1935. Dennis’ grandfather, Henry Allen, was one of the last carvers on the Skokomish Reservation and a major informant for an extensive ethnographic study of the Twana (Skokomish) people.

Dennis has spent much of his life on the Skokomish Reservation, first living with his aunt after the untimely death of his mother, and then later acting as a caregiver and provider to his blind grandmother, Katie Pulsifer. He was exposed to his cultural traditions and a spirit of generosity at an early age. He learned from his elders how to weave baskets, hunt and fish, prepare traditional foods and gather indigenous plants used for medicine. His initial exposure to steamed bentwood techniques came from his experience building canoes with members of his community.

Dennis worked as a logger and a fisherman, sometimes in Alaska. However, inspired by the success and beautiful work of his son, Andy Wilbur, Dennis made the decision, relatively late in life, to become a full time artist. At that point, he began to learn how to make bentwood boxes and drums, create original designs, carve and paint. He has developed his own style and his work reflects the many Northwest Coast Native legends that have been past down to him.

Dennis continues to win awards for his work and his carvings have found an audience in galleries across North America. He creates from his heart and enjoys each piece he finishes. An active community member, Dennis views carving as a means of connecting to his roots, and is honored to take part in the revival of Salish Art.

Salmon Design Bentwood Box
Salmon Design Bentwood Box by Dennis Allen
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