8 x 10 inches
8 x 10 inches
Frank Finley is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes from the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana. He is the eldest son of Octave Finley, the Salish War Dance Chief. His mother, Edna, is an expert beadwork artist and craftsperson who taught him a great deal about Indian beadwork and jewelry. After graduating from Salish Kootenai College in Environmental Science, he took several art classes to expand his horizons. While studying under Hot Springs artist Leo Harteis, Finley found his natural talent in silversmithing.
While lighter-weight silver is used by some contemporary jewelers, Finley works with heavier gauge silver which he feels is more durable and which reflects the style of work from days gone by. One of his signature styles is the Buffalo Horn Spoon series, a collection of spoon shaped jewelry based on the traditional form. Even though his jewelry is contemporary, it looks at home with much older pieces.
Finley does his own lapidary work as well. He enjoys incorporating large stones with strong colors, especially lapis lazuli, agate, and rhodochrosite. He experiments in various shapes and designs to find ways to express his culture and background in both traditional and contemporary forms, and studies many sources for inspiration. He also works with elk horn, bear claws and native rock to create uniquely Montana jewelry.
Frank Finley's creativity expands to other art with strong cultural connections and traditions. These include drinking horns and spoons, dance regalia, and paintings with both mythical and current themes. The left hand is one of his recurrent themes, symbolizing the mystical side of the human psyche, along with animal symbols. Finley frequently hides pictographic symbols in his designs.
Finley was a featured Artist in the First Helena Indian Summer Art Market, and has received other prestigious awards and recognition for his work.
- Museum of the Plains Indian, March 29 – May 10, 2009