Published on January 8, 2013 by Amy
At a young age, Alan Monroe learned the basics of quill working, weaponry, sculpting and pipe making from traditional and contemporary artisans in his family circle.
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He comes from a long line of pipe makers. This skill has been passed down for generations. Today, many consider him to be a master pipe maker. He has made as many as 400-600 pipes in a year.
Monroe’s expertise in quillwork is demonstrated in both traditional and contemporary styles. He acquires and prepares the quills by washing, cleaning and dyeing them. Then, he utilizes them in both large and small projects.
In his sculptures, Monroe works with a variety of materials such as pipestone, bone, wood and alabaster. He creates small objects like fetishes to large pieces than can weigh hundreds of pounds.
During the past 12 years, Monroe has successfully developed a market for his Northern Plains style of art and craftwork. His work can be seen in many galleries and museums across the country.
Monroe has won many awards and made new friends through his work and travels. He enjoys setting up at art shows because it allows him to introduce himself and his work to the public. During these shows he becomes a teacher as well as a sales person. He firmly believes one must educate the customer about the materials, history and significance of the piece to enhance the aesthetic value and complete the sale to a satisfied customer.
Monroe was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota in 1968 and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He graduated from Hot Springs High School. He began his college education at Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska and has attended the University of Tennessee, Martin, Tennessee; National College, Rapid City, South Dakota and Oglala Lakota College, Rapid City, SD where he studied business and art.