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The Art of Ed Gray (Jikiwe)

Ed Gray





I create my art with a celebration, embracing cultural differences past and present. I weave all into a moving vortex, never to stop creating impressions and keeping focused on my visions


Over the past forty-three years working in copper and more recently clay, Miskwabik / Ed Gray Studio has become a way of life, a way to express and share the teachings that were given to me as gifts to pass on to receptive ears.

I find my art and the people around me a major part of my life. The heartbeat of our world and all that it encompasses, balanced with seriousness and laughter, brings my life to full circle.

The Studio and The Cliffs are, for me, places to bring people together to share honor and respect for the ancestors.

You are invited to visit my studio, or to contact me to learn more about Ed Gray Studio activities. I also welcome you to browse the links at the left to see if there is an Ed Gray exhibition or collection near you.

My Best,
Ed Gray (Jikiwe)

Surrounded by Lake Superior, the Keweenaw Peninsula is an area rich in history that dates back thousands of years. The Great Lakes Basin is home to many, including my people who have been a part of the region for many, many years.

Footprints of the Ancestors

My studio is found in the historic Vertin Building in downtown Calumet. My ancestors are still very much a presence in the region. My grandmother, Big Wing, told me the history of my great grandfather, Golden Hawk, who worked the miskwabik, or copper, many years ago.

As we follow the paths of our ancestors, we walk in their steps. My workshop “Footprints of the Ancestors” honors those whose paths have long lain on the earth and entwines them with those paths we make.


Much of the copper found on the earth’s surface in the Keweenaw is float copper – material carried from the place where it was formed and deposited elsewhere. Geologists and miners can trace much of this copper back to its source – Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Keweenaw.

For thousands of years before European settlers arrived, the Anishinabe, the first people of the Great Lakes Basin, mined the native copper in the cliffs cut by Lake Superior. Evidence of the ancestors is found in tools, producing pits and burial sites and preserved by their descendants.

The Sacred Elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water

Using fire and water, the ancient Anishinabe worked copper ore from the rock. With stone tools they extracted the metal copper to make tools.

In 1842, the Ojibway ceded claims on much of the Upper Peninsula to the United States government. Thousands of miners rushed to the area to extract the copper abundant in the peninsula. Mines were purchased by large companies and yielded poor results until the Cliff Mine’s massive quantities of native copper were discovered. The Cliff Mine first opened in 1860, and by 1900 its shafts were the deepest in the world. The Cliff Mine proved to be a valuable resource for many years until the cost of transportation and mining became too great and companies and their workers left the area.

The influence of the ancient Anishinabe and the miners is apparent in Keweenaw. All comes full-circle in the teaching, history and love of this place called the Keweenaw.




ŠAll materials, print, artwork and photography on this site are copyrighted and not to be reprinted without written permission by The Smoking Poet.

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