Little Elk, as he prefers to be called, is not a full-time artist. He is an atmospheric scientist and renewable energy engineer, with advanced degrees from Stanford University and UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group.
That background may seem unusual for a silversmith of his talent and vision, however, he learned how to translate his vision using silver from his father, T.R., who, encouraged by his own uncle, the great Crow painter Earl Biss, had previously studied under the iconic jewelers Gibson Nez and Charles Loloma at IAIA in Santa Fe.
The design he uses here is a contemporary application of Crow Parfleche designs to depict the mountains, the meteorology, and the hydrogeology of his home in the Big Horns of Montana.
In Little Elk’s own words:
“In my dual fields, analyst and engineer, it is all about ‘the flow’ – wind, weather, sunlight, seasons, running water, even geothermal heat, electrical current, the tension down guy wires, the electrical capacity of high-voltage transmission lines, the counter-acting forces in a structure, the phase changes of water, the balance of electrical charge in the atmosphere. It is a system analyses of Mountain Storms, the atmospheric physics within the clouds, and the hydrogeology of aquifer replenishment through infiltration, the role of snow in both, and the planetary dynamo that provides shielding from solar storms and cosmic radiation for life on Earth.”
This cuff was one of the first pieces Little Elk made after suffering a spinal cord injury, while still restricted from doing many simple tasks.
The hand-chiseled and cutout designs are exacting, overlaid onto an oxidized base layer of silver to provide depth. High-polished and beautiful, this is a must-have for any collector with a discerning eye and an interest in or passion for the mystery of how the Earth works.
We hope to work with Little Elk more in the future, but this is the only work of his in our collection at the moment, so…enjoy!!