Native World Gallery - Stoneware by Robert Big Elk
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Robert Big Elk was born in Macy, Nebraska and is of Omaha and Sioux descent. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1963 to 1968. He studied under the renowned Hopi potter, Otellie Loloma, who taught him Indian traditional techniques and designs. He was a student at the University of Colorado for one year. Several of his pots were selected for a national touring exhibit of the Institute of American Indian Arts Honors Collection. His works have been on display in 41 museums, colleges and universities as well as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.. Big Elk did workshops and demonstrations, in which he taught the origins, ancient symbols and techniques of pottery making.

Some of his finished pots consist of only his preferred medium of stoneware while others are painted and/or embellished with organic materials such as leather, beads, bone hairpipe, and horsehair. Big Elk combined new techniques with methods that are thousands of years old; this has resulted in a world-class appeal of his art which transcends even cultural barriers.

"I have always felt that I could make a most profound contribution to high standards of the art of pottery by synthesizing the beauty of design and cultural expressions of the many diverse and indigenous peoples. To this end I have spent much of my professional career visiting and researching the pottery and arts of tribes in the Southwest, the Plains, the Northeast, the Northwest and in California. Sitting beside the potters, carvers, painters and sculptors of these diverse tribes, I have learned new techniques that are often ancient techniques and have absorbed an appreciation of the cultural and artistic expression of many indigenous peoples." - Robert Big Elk

 

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