Wood, metal, photography, printmaking, these are just some of the materials use by this young, and outstanding, artist.
He says, “I am from the Hopi reservation… 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.”
His interest in the role of water extends beyond symbols; he is a river guide, herbalist, and environmental educator, in addition to his artistic work.
This very handsome buckle celebrates water, which is essential to all life, in its symbolic design, the choice of turquoise, and the treatment of the silver.
Tufa cast silver has a grainy texture. Tufa is a naturally compacted volcanic sand, which is very crumbly.
The jeweler must slice a slab of tufa in half, horizontally, and carefully carve out his design. Then, molten silver is poured into the middle, through a scooped out spout.
Since the tufa is so friable, only one or two casts can be made from one design.
To form this buckle, which is entirely tufa cast – even the working parts on the back – a double design had to be carved – one on the top slab of tufa, and one on the bottom. This is very, very tricky.
When the silver cools to a hard state, the rough piece is even more carefully removed, and finished by hand.
The stone, if any, is then set into the silver, separately.
Flowing, sinuous lines refer to running water, as do the graceful spirals, on top.
Given the grainy texture of the tufa cast silver, it glistens as if wet with water, when burnished, as here.
The turquoise is natural, and a particularly beautiful mix of blue and green – again, a symbol of water and sky.
This buckle is a personal design, in a beautifully integrated piece that incorporates artistic flair with assured workmanship.
It also expresses traditional and contemporary environmental values, neatly combining all the artist’s interests in one handsome package!
The buckle will fit a belt that is up to 1 1/4 inch wide, and no more than 3/8 inch thick.