The artist has said, “To the Hopi, water plays an important part of daily life. As dry farmers we rely on annual rain and snowfall to benefit our crops and orchards.”
He is also partly Quechan, a tribe on the equally arid, Arizona/California border.
This emerging artist studied at the Institute for American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe, and has returned to Hopi to create art in metals, wood carving, and print-making.
In addition to his art, he is a river guide, environmental educator, and ethnobotanist, especially interested in water issues, understandably.
This eye-catching buckle is full of water symbols, and is almost pictorial.
Cast in heavy gauge silver, from natural cuttle bone, the wavy texture of the cuttle bone is, itself, a symbol of flowing water.
The artist has carved three, gracefully curving lines over the cuttle bone pattern, signifying a river, or stream.
Placed just above, as if on the water’s edge, is a soft green and earthy brown variscite – a stone akin to turquoise in appearance.
The coloration of green and brown suggest the earth – or, as the artist has said, a tree next to the river.
A raised border is polished, just like the “river current”, which forms a pleasing contrast to the darker background.
The buckle’s tapered shape also suggests the forward motion of running water.
Every bit is hand cast, and sturdy; the unusual double bar, at the back, will sturdily hold a 1-inch wide belt.
This buckle is “green” in several ways, but also a handsome example of confident workmanship and artistic vision.