Robert Tiger is a full-time student finishing his Bachelor of Science degree in social work. He is also a full-time dad to his three kids. And, he officially registered his business, Last Lodge Studios, in South Dakota in August of 2021!
Robert has been working with conch shell and abalone since 2016 and enjoys teaching his kids. He was mentored in shell carving by Dan Simmons and notes that there are fewer than ten people in the US currently doing this work.
Tiger makes all his adornments in the traditional way; they are not machine cut. It is a painstaking four-stage process. Conch shell is an amazing natural material that is extremely tough, like porcelain mixed with fiberglas but from the sea. The dust created when cutting the shell is toxic, containing arsenic and sharp particles, so ventilation is essential. Robert typically works outside with a facemask and gloves and uses water to keep dust to a minimum.
His beautiful pieces have been collected across the Northern Plains.
Seven Fires Art is very pleased to offer these naturally luxurious hair ties and we hope to add Robert’s conch shell earrings and pendants soon!
Shells worn by the Northern Plains people are thought of as mirrors that keep bad energy or spirits away. Shells represent the depths of the ocean and the connection across the farthest reaches of the earth, to all living things.
Because the shells are a natural material, everything depends on the shell – the unique curves, colors and fissures determine the qualities of each completed piece.