Kirk Smith learned to make jewelry from his grandfather in the 1960s. The workshop was away from the house, very secretive. He had dug out the earth, then placed brush and tree limbs over the top. Kirk helped him with soldering at first. After that he remembers working with bracelets, beads, and necklaces. Around 1972 he went out on his own, making and selling his first pieces to Gilbert Ortega, all silver sand cast work. Because of Harry, he really started paying attention to the style. As he ages, he tries to give back to the people, hoping they in turn take care of their families.
MARY MARIE YAZZIE LINCOLN
Mary Marie is the current matriarch of the skilled and prolific Yazzie family of Gallup, New Mexico which is among the most celebrated Navajo jewelry making families of our time. Mary Marie is also a member of the Folding Arms Clan. She has been active silversmithing since the 1970's and is the sister of noted jewelers Raymond and Lee Yazzie. Mary Marie is known for her traditional design work that are fashioned in simple, yet elegant handiwork. Among her specialties are impeccably formed silver beads.
She was the first in the Yazzie family to work with Joe Tanner, a fourth generation Southwest Indian art dealer. By 1975, While Mary Marie crafts jewelry, she is also was responsible for the quality control of all jewelry produced at Tannerʼs Indian Arts. Her attention to detail has earned a respected reputation and her pieces meet and exceed client expectations even as they enhance the artistic heritage of her family
The Yazzie family has been creating jewelry for generations, beginning in the early 1900s with Elsa and Chee Yazzie. Elsa taught the craft to their 12 children, nine of whom are in the jewelry-making business. Mary works closely with her brothers, Lee and Raymond Yazzie, who are both very well-known, award-winning jewelers. Mary and her work are featured in several of the most dependable reference books on Native American jewelry.
A recent exhibition at New York's National Museum of the American Indian was on display through January 2016 and called Glittering Worlds – Wearable Heritage: Navajo Jewelry of the Yazzie Family. The presentation highlighted the silver, gold, and stone inlay work of Lee Yazzie and his younger brother, Raymond. Sister Mary Marie Lincoln's displayed pieces included jewelry that combined fine bead and stonework. Also included were handmade, silver beads made in a time-consuming and exacting process by several of the Yazzie sisters.
Mary Marie makes stamped and unstamped silver necklaces of varying length. To begin these, she stamps designs on blank silver disks by hammering metal punches (or dies) onto the surfaces. Most designs require a number of different small, detailed stamps to create the overall image. The stamped disks are then domed by punching them into a concave wooden block with a cone punch. Marie's process is different from the embossing technique, where an entire pre-formed design is stamped with one punch at the same time the disk is domed.
Each bead is hand filed after the doming to smooth the edges and fit evenly with the other beads. If the necklace is designed to have beads of graduated size, the beads are domed in a set of graduated concave forms. Using hand tools, a hole is punched in the center of each bead. To create the bead, two halves are soldered together using narrow strips of silver solder and flux. Soldered edges are then filed smooth and the beads are polished.
Besides necklaces, which may contain as many as 120 individual hand forged beads, Marie also makes stamped earrings. Her earrings are made of one half of the necklace bead, domed on one side and flat on the other.
Experts have called her creations timeless. She often combines various colored stones such as coral and turquoise, in her popular "cluster work" pieces. In addition to designing and fabricating metalwork and cutting and setting stones, Mary Marie is also a highly skilled bead arranger and stringer.
Like the work of her siblings, Mary Marie is inspired by the land, the people, and Navajo deities that appear in the Hozho concepts of harmony, beauty, and balance that guide Navajo beliefs about health, nature, and art. The colors white, blue, yellow, and black each represent a time of day and a cardinal direction.
Mary Marie's materials are consistent with traditional Navajo jewelry: silver, turquoise, and coral, with an occasional sprinkling of other semi-precious stones like opal, lapis lazuli, and jade. Turquoise, the sky stone, has special prominence in Navajo traditions.
To be considered gem quality and Yazzie-approved, turquoise must be hard enough to cut and polish. Such stones are rarer than diamonds. About three dozen turquoise mines exist in the American Southwest and many of them are almost depleted.
Among classic motifs used are squash blossoms with a horseshoe and the famous design of bugle-shaped blooms that usually run along the length of the necklaces. The horseshoe element (called naja) can also be worn as a pendant.
Reticulated designs mimic rolling hills and inlaid stones are arranged like petals. Ears of corn "bent" around a wrist can form a bracelet. Whether making belt buckles, necklaces, rings, bangles, or bolo ties, the Yazzies, Mary Marie included, take pains to balance what the stone wants to become and what the artist desires.
Roie was born of three Native American Indian tribes: Pueblo of Laguna Acoma, Chiricahua Apache, and Navajo. He was brought up as Navajo and in the ways of the Navajo cultures. His father Tse nahabilnii, is Navajo, while Roie's paternal grandparent, Chishi, is Chiricahua Apache. Roie's mother, is Naatsedlozii (Road runner of Laguna Acoma) Her parents Haak'ohnii (Laguna Acoma). Roie speaks, reads, and writs the Navajo language, and is enrolled with the Navajo tribe in window rock, Arizona.
After high school and college/university in Nw Mexico and Arizona, Roie worked as a summer aide in Albuqueque, NM. He also worked on the Apache County Road Department, National Forest, Ramah Navajo School at Pine Hill, NM, and is currently employed by Circle J.W. Products.
"I learned how to silversmith at an early age and have been silversmithing for over 45 years. I have also learned the art of Navajo rug weaving, using the raw materials from my own sheep. Working from scratch, I shear, wash, clean, card, and spin the wool into yarns for weaving. My late mother, Alice Raphealito, was a Master weaver and was known for her excellent work."
DESIGNER MERIDITH LOCKHART
When she was in the seventh grade, she made the first dress that she could wear to school, and her teachers complimented her on it and she was hooked! Coming from a family of talented artists and musicians probably sealed her destiny. After many years of work in interior design and art related work, in 1989, she created Thistles West to produce and market high end western and crossover fashions.
In 1997, she decided to give something back to the community and went to work for an arts organization in Kansas City, Missouri that did programs for inner city, at-risk and adjudicated youth. During that time, she continued to make clothing for major country music artists for TV award shows, videos and CD covers. She was drawn back into the fashion business because of so many requests for her fashions, thus the Merezia Custom label was created for the designs made and worn by rodeo queens for state and national pageants.
Inspiration for her designs comes from the love of the western culture. She has had horses since she was a teenager. She married a farmer and lives where she is surrounded by horses, cattle and beautiful countryside. Yes, Kansas is not all flat with wheat fields for miles and miles.
Embellishment ideas come from the rodeo queen wear and she adds them to the accessories, strivi to make a high quality product and likes creating things that women feel good about wearing. Her love of the western way of life has driven her to design bags, belts and fashions with western flair.
De L'esprie (aka Delesprie)
Born in Montreal adjacent to the Mohawk Iroquois Reservation, Delesprie collected clay from the riverbanks of the reservation to create her first statues. She became fascinated with and sculpted the children and the older Natives. Later she went on to do the same with Native Americans traveling throughout the United States. Delesprie obtained her degree form Loyola University. She then attended Brandis Art Institute taking both private and group classes over a four-year period. Her mentors included: Marion Young, Don Gale and Richard MacDonald.
Harold Shelton passed away November 1, 1999, but left a legacy of incomparable art. As a painter and sculptor, among other vast interests that kept his efforts in the arts, Harold Shelton in his last years created wonderful Western Art sculptures. He was commissioned by the National Heritage Collectors Society to do a series "Epic of the Plains Indians', just six pieces. We have two of these in our store: 'Tatonka Wakan' and 'War or Peace'.
Barbara completed a Bachelor of Fine Art degree at Northern Arizona University and obtained a Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Tulane University, Louisiana. She has further developed her skills in ceramic art at the University of California at San Diego, Mesa College, and San Diego State University and taught ceramics at Tulane University. She has been fully committed to making and marketing ceramics since 1982, working in all ceramic mediums. She has won many awards for her work including juried art shows, regional awards and has displayed her work at national ceramic exhibitions. Her specialty is creating richly pigmented pit-fire and raku pieces through processes developed and refined over many years of diligent experimental work. First, she creates large and small clay vessels using a traditional potter's wheel, and then enhances the forms by adding hand-built decorative clay shapes or architectural forms. Glazes are mixed to meet the specific vision for each piece, and include crackle, crystal, matte finish, speckled and smooth effects. The pit fire and raku methods create ephemeral, smoky effects, which bring out the subtle variations in color that enliven the surface of the ceramic. Each piece is hand-made, and unique.
ANDREW AND GLADYS PACHECO
After a decade modeling for catalogs and commercials, Andrea's first love, horseback riding, took her to the Australian Outback where she discovered her other great passion, glass. A five-week vacation turned into a seven year apprenticeship. Glass become the outlet for Andrea's love of art and design. Since her return to the states, she's been busy once again, creating unique, functional art. Her goblets, plates, ice buckets, flatware, and jewelry have been featured in the most prestigious stores in the world, and her elegant style has become a trademark for thousands of collectors just like you.
Tommy Singer was born in 1940 and passed away May 31, 2014. He was from Winslow, Arizona where he lived with his wife Rose and their children and grandchildren. Tommy was a regarded silversmith and is known throughout the world for his jewelry work. His overlay pieces incorporate the most traditional of Navajo design – designs that have endured for years and years. Many of these designs are of Navajo rugs and other traditional designs.
Tommy grew up in a small community of Dilcon on the Navajo Reservation. He uses sterling silver and turquoise to create artistic expressions of Navajo traditional ways. Tommy stated: "I make jewelry out of silver. Every piece is made with the meanings of my traditional ways – the Navajo way of living. My father was a silversmith. He taught me and wanted me to continue his trade. It was my father's dream that I learn to silversmith so that I could continue his beliefs." In the 1960's, Tommy became famous for inventing the use of turquoise and coral chips in silverwork. This method of design is referred to as "chip-inlay". So successful was this invention that many Navajo craftsmen copy the method.
His work is well known internationally and is featured in a number of Indian art publications. One can easily recognize Tommy's work. He marks his finished pieces with "T. Singer" or with "T and a crescent moon". Whether Tommy created a bolo tie, buckle, ring, necklace, pendant, or bracelet, he stated that, "All my jewelry is made to satisfy my customer. Each piece is unique and is made very different. I try hard to make different styles and designs of my jewelry." Tommy's work is very popular and it is copied by many other artists. This is your chance to own an original silver masterpiece by the master of Silversmithing
Ronnie Willie learned silversmithing from his oldest brother, Lonnie, who is also a Navajo silversmith. In addition to jewelry, In addition to jewelry, he makes kachinas and does sandpainting, sandcasting, rock sculpture, and wood-carving. He also likes to draw and is happy to report that his youngest son, Dakota, shares his passion for drawing. He has four children. Mr. Willie works as a silversmith five days a week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He often makes his own tools and particularly enjoys working on antique bracelets and concho belts. He enjoys creating new designs and practices his art is his free time. Someday, he would like to teach young people how to silversmith and sculpture. It is important to him to keep his culture's traditions alive.
Native American Indian Artist Chimney Butte lived at Kykotsmov, Arizona as a child. it is the oldest continually inhabited village in North America. There he was first introduced to pottery, carving, and jewelry making. His works are an inspiration and certainly pieces of Art. The see of self expression was planted, I learned that one's work, its beauty, is a mirror of one's soul. By doing your art, you could express yourself and show respect for those around you. They are your teachers and mentors. A teacher exists not only in those that possess documents claiming such attributes, but the teacher exists in those with a need to give. "After many years, I am now able to express my own self through the work I do with my daughter Annika She gives me new inspiration to our jewelry. I also see the importance of giving our daughter the tools and ability to continue into tomorrow." CHIMNEY BUTTE
Calvin Begay is an award winning artist, jeweler, designer and master craftsman. He was born in Gallup, New Mexico in 1965 and raised in Tohatchi, northwestern New Mexico. Calvin designed his first piece of jewelry at age 10, learning from his mother and uncle. In more than 20 years as a jewelry designer and craftsman, he has become a master in every aspect of the design and manufacturing process. He has won numerous awards at the Gallup Inter Tribal Ceremonial, including Best of Show in 1989. His jewelry has been featured in Arizona Highways and Southwest Art Magazines. This gifted artist continually innovates and updates his designs, working in both gold and silver, and adding new motifs and stones to his repertoire. In his leisure time, Calvin participates in rodeos and rides in the back country in his all terrain vehicles. When he creates jewelry, that wild free spirit finds expression in precious metals and stone.
He has a unique ability to translate traditional Navajo inlay techniques into jewelry that reflects his Native American heritage, yet have elegant and contemporary flair. Calvin's work is prized by clients and collectors, not only in the Southwest, but throughout the United Stated and the world. In the artistry of Calvin Begay, the stunning beauty of the untamed West is reflected in the combination of color and design that create unforgettable pieces of wearable art.
EDWARD (Eddie) BEYUKA
Eddie Beyuka lived in Zuni Pueblo and is best known for his bolos and standing figures of Kachinas and dancers executed in channel inlay with a variety of materials-generally turquoise, mother of pearl, jet, coral, and others-skillfully integrated in his famous creations. He also provides stands for the bolas so that they may be displayed as sculptures when not being worn.
The three-dimensional components of his pieces, such as full-round miniature drums and baskets make them very distinctive. Beyuka started making jewelry in 1956, working with his wife Madeline for a number of years. Madeline did the inlay and Eddie did the silverwork on their collaborative pieces. After they divorced, Eddie started doing both the silver and stonework on his jewelry. Sons Jonathan and Filbert do work that is very similar in style and subject matter to their father's. Daughter Christine is also a jeweler, but she does not produce Kachina figures.
Beyuka was featured in the "Jewels of the Southwest" exhibit at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Santa Fe, in 2002. His work is in the collection of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, and in the collections of a number of private individuals.He was captured by the Japanese in World War II and survived the Bataan Death March. After the war, he went back to school. In 1956, he began making jewelry, specializing in mosaic and channel inlay.
DENNIS EDAAKIE, 1931-2008
Dennis and Nancy Edaakie started making jewelry in 1965 and have become known for finely detailed bird imagery on pieces made in the overlay inlay technique. Dennis's father, Merle Edaakie, did stonework for trader C. G. Wallace.
In 1970, at the urging of traders Ruth and Leon Ingram, Dennis and Nancy first produced inlay jewelry bearing images of birds. Overlay inlay is similar to Hopi overlay. In both methods, one piece of silver with a cut-out pattern is overlaid on another piece of the same size and shape. In the Hopi technique the bottom layer is darkened so that the cut-out areas contrast with the polished silver of the top layer. In the Zuni overlay inlay technique, mosaic stonework fills the blanks, forming a brilliantly colored counterpoint to the monochromatic silver. Beginning in the late 1970s, Dennis and Nancy further innovated on the overlay technique through the use of gold, as opposed to silver.
Dennis has been given credit for development of the spinner pendant, another design he developed at the urging of the Ingrams. This form of pendant can be reversed while remaining on the wearer's neck. Dennis first produced flat spinner pendants, but he now also makes a domed version.
Nancy started out doing some of the inlay details on Dennis's work and now does all of the inlay. Dennis has always done the silverwork on their pieces. They originally used a parrot beak stamp as their hallmark, since Dennis is of the parrot clan. Later, they used DENNIS E., and, subsequent to that, DENNIS AND NANCY EDAAKIE. Dennis and Nancy Edaakie's sons, Myron, Sanford, Derrick and Dale, also make overlay inlay jewelry.
TONY AND OLA ERIACHO
Zuni artists Tony and Ola Eriacho have been creating beautiful jewelry for over 35 years – first on their own as individual jewelers, and then together as a couple. "Our styles were very different. Over the years, they've blended together."Tony specialized in silver and turquoise work. "I started with what some call Navajo-style work, making jewelry with large nuggets of turquoise and clusters of stones. I also made sandcast pieces and liked to use the shadowbox technique." Ola has always specialized in working with stones, cutting and inlaying them in the classic Zuni styles. "I first learned about jewelry-making from my mother, who was known for her beautiful needlepoint [clusters of small, elongated, finely-cut stones]. Later, I learned how to inlay the stones on my own."
Harry Morgan passed away in 2007. He was an incredible fifth-generation Navajo silversmith from New Mexico who won many awards for his beautiful jewelry design. He began casting jewelry when he was seven years old and became a silversmith at age 12.
After graduating from Gallup High School, Harry received a 4-year scholarship from the Navajo Tribe to study engineering, but school no longer interested him. Being a rodeo cowboy was his next dream. As the popularity of the sport continued, Harry met his certain levels of satisfaction but wanted to experiment with jewelry again.
He opened his own silver supply store in Crownpoint, New Mexico and was inspired by his mother to create jewelry in the old pawn style, which he is now famous for. Harry was the nephew of two well known and popular silversmiths, Charlie Bitsue and Ike Wilson. Today, most of their high quality creations are collector items and can be found in many museums.
The stamps that Harry used to decorate his work were inherited from his parents and uncles or made by him. Much of his work was made with silver that he rolled himself. He put a satin finish on every piece to give it an antique look. Harry got his ideas for his creations from the natural elements, such as nature, canyons, colors, and the different times of the day. Harry lived near Gallup, New Mexico, where he grew up. He won awards at every major Indian art show. Two of his five children have taken up the art of silversmithing.
"The boldness of the silver is what's beautiful. You don't want to over decorate the silver. You want your jewelry to be big and bold."- Harry Morgan
JESSE MONONGYE (HOPi)
AKA JESSE MONONGYA, (NAVAJO)
Monongya's work has ranged from the use of silver and simply cut turquoise and coral to the highly technical and intricate designs of the galaxies and heavens in lapis, jade, malachite, and diamonds set in gold. While his work had evolved over the years, the superb color combination and balance of design are consistently present.
Raised in New Mexico in the famous Navajo rug center of Two Gray Hills, Jesse learned early the perfection of the craft from watching the weavers and their pursuit of balance and technical perfection. The beautiful songs the women would sing as they wove and the soothing sound of the loom would stay with him as he began his work at the jeweler's bench years later. The stars the elders talked about looking up in that beautiful black sky of the Southwest would eventually be used in stunning array in the classic bracelets and pendants he is so well known for throughout the world.
Along with producing his own work, he has been actively involved in several facets of art. He assisted in the placing of historic and contemporary Native American jewelry in the permanent display at the Heard Museum. He also was the Artist in Residence at the Heard Museum during 1986-87, teaching and demonstrating the centuries old art of Navajo jewelry making.
Monongya's jewelry has been featured in a number of group and private exhibitions and is represented in both corporate and private collections, including collections of many other artists. He has won many awards at the major American Indian art shows throughout the Southwest.
Some of the major influences upon his work have been in varying degrees, Preston, his father, who he did not know until he was a grown man; his Hopi and Navajo background; (his grandfather being the much respected Hopi Elder David Monongya); his Navajo grandfather who taught him the respect of his environment and the old Navajo ways of discipline and the Beauty Way.
The Bear has been a symbol to Jesse as the Strength and Power of his "Dine" culture. The intricately inlaid bear takes so much concentration that he must take time in between to recover. He tells of the story when he was a very young boy with his grandfather and they came across a bear out in the mountains. His grandfather spoke to the bear in Navajo, acknowledging his strength and power, asking for blessing and to pass safely. The bear retreated from his standing position and walked away into the woods. It was a very strong experience for Jesse.
Through Jesse's skilled hands we can also share in these cultural and spiritual experiences.
Lloyd D Garcia was born October 29, 1960, and resides at Santo Domingo Pueblo.
Santo Domingo Pueblo is one of the best known tribes of the southwest Indians, largely because of their skill in marketing, their jewelry and other crafts. The Pueblo is fifth in population of the nineteen New Mexico Pueblos, and is generally considered the most conservative in terms of customs and culture. Life in the Pueblo has altered little since the arrival of the white man, Santo Domingo people have closely guarded their ceremonies, placing great emphasis on their ancient religious structures and societies, the center of the social structure.
Santo Domingo today is the leading producer of the tiny handmade beads known as heishi. Some heishi necklaces contain over 10,000 miniscule beads and look like strands of hair. Its artists are also famous for inlaid pieces, often featuring turquoise on shell bases. Much Santo Domingo jewelry is strikingly similar to Ancestral Pueblo, or Anasazi, jewelry unearthed at Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde's--ome of it more than a thousand years old.
Robert Leekya, Zuni, is the son of famous fetish carver Leekya Deyuse. When his children entered school, Leekya requested that they take his first name as their surname. All of his children (Alice, Sarah, Elizabeth, Robert and Roger) did so. As a child, his father tried to teach him to carve stones; he didn't want to get dust all over himself! Robert and his brother Roger and sister Elizabeth became silversmiths. His sisters Alice Leekya Homer and Sarah Leekya (Homer) are known as fetish carvers.
Robert married his wife, Bernice, on February 15, 1953. Their parents influenced both of these wonderful artists in their craft, as they taught them from a young age.
Rodney Coriz is an exceptional young Santo Domingo jewelry artist who has combined two styles of creativity into his own. His inlay work is fantastic and his ability to work with natural stones to form smooth wearable pieces of art is well known.
Rodney is a member of the Santo Domingo Pueblo. His life is about history, believing and experiencing his culture. Rodney was affected by his Mother's and Grandfather's history, how hand made jewelry was artfully created by using hand made tools.
Turquoise stones were ground on solid rocks, before the creators had motors and machines. Rodney easily grasped his Grandfather Lupe Pena's history and started to create art from seashell and stones. Rodney craved to learn more and wanted to become a modern artist.
He took metal smithing classes in January of 2002 at the Poeh Cultural Center. He has grown and developed into a world class artist who has shown works at many museums, including the Heard and The Millicent Rogers Museum. Rodney Coriz is also featured in the book "Masters of Contemporary Indian Jewelry".
Born in 1949, Stewart is the son of Ellen and Dixie Quandelacy. He started carving in grade school, as did most of his brothers and sisters (Andres, Avery, Barlow, Sandra, Dickie, Wilmer, Faye, and Georgia Quandelacy, and Albenita Yunie).
After Naval service in Vietnam, Stewart began carving regularly, starting with stringing fetishes and then progressing to standing fetishes. In the 1970s, he originated and subsequently became famous for the "medicine bear," a highly stylized bear fetish with a zigzag inlaid heartline.
Bill Mexicano is 72 years of age and is one of the best smiths. He does everything in a traditional manner
Effie Calavaza is from Zuni, New Mexico. Well known for her distinctive silver snake and turquoise nugget design, she started working in the mid-1950s. Learning from and working with her husband, Juan Calavaza, Effie has passed her design along to her daughters Georgiana Yatsatti, Gloria Jean Garcia and Susie Calavaza. At first, Effie and her husband signed their work together with JUAN C.—ZUNI . Later, she and her daughters all signed their work with EFFIE C.—ZUNI. She specializes in sand casting and incorporates large stones and snake designs. She began silversmithing in 1956 after learning from her husband, Juan Calavaza. She uses both her husband's and her own designs. Her work is stamped EFFIE C. ZUNI in 1/16 Gothic print. This is the family hallmark used by Effie and her three daughters (she shared her spouse's mark, JUAN C. ZUNI, until his death ca. 1970). Over the years, her daughters, Georgiana Yatsattie, Gloria Jean Garcia and Susie Calavaza have assisted Effie in jewelry making. Despite many rumors, Effie is still making jewelry to this day. Effie's work is collected throughout the world.
Greg Gowen's art is a natural expression of who he is as a person. He's the kind of person who leaves things better than he found them- an innovator, a designer, a renovator; always dreaming big and thinking outside of the box.
Greg discovered metalwork as an ideal canvas for his ideas at an early age. His father Mike Gowen, a metal sculptor and gallery owner, allowed Greg to work and play in his studio as a boy. Greg grew up developing his natural skill there, and at the age of 10 he exhibited at his first art show and began the journey that has led him to where he is today.
Greg and his wife Deborah own and operate two galleries in New Mexico. Gowen Arts is located in old town, Albuquerque and the Copper Tree Gallery is located in Corrales, New Mexico. The Gowens live in Corrales with their four children, Jordan, Kyle, Wesley and Noah.
Greg spends most of his time at StudioG7, his studio in Bernalillo, New Mexico, where he draws inspiration from the desert around him. It's a world of contrasts that is evident in his art. Brilliant sunsets explode with color over the muted tones of the desert sand and find their way into the copper plates and copper canvases that Greg designs and paints with fire. The simplicity of Native American culture contrasts with the busy city life and emerges in the Soul Warrior statues and Traditional Southwestern pieces, which are elegant and rustic at the same time. The movement of the desert wind and the life giving waters of the Rio Grande pour forth in the peace and beauty of Grace Dance, a work that has been praised as the pinnacle of Greg's creations.
In fact, all of the StudioG7 Collection speaks of the contrast of life. It breathes fire but it is cold to the touch. It is rough and weathered from the raw elements of the earth and yet it is refined and brings beauty and elegance wherever it is placed.
Yes, Greg Gowen's art is a natural expression of who he is as a person and a product of the environment where he creates it.
It's his desire to share the goodness, beauty and passion of all that life can be with you by creating art that colors your world and gives you peace and enjoyment from his life to yours.
Zuni artist Hugh Bowekaty has been making jewelry for a living since 1948 when he was a young 21 years old. His style is classic Zuni needlepoint, but when he first started doing it the technique was only a couple of years old, new to Zuni .We think of needlepoint having been around forever, but Hugh started doing this work very close to its creation. Hugh is now in his 80s.
J NELSON, NAVAJO
Navajo artist John Nelson designed for over 40 years. As his health slowly hampered him, he reduced his production almost completely. John Nelson is a 3rd generation Native American artisan. In the latter years of his designing, he teamed with Nakai Trading Company and produced a wide range of pieces. He is renowned as one of the very best Navajo Lapidarist ever. But as with all great silversmiths, he excelled in production of all types of jewelry.
LEE AND MARY WEEBOTHEE, ZUNI
Lee and Mary Weebothee are generally considered to be among the top Native American silversmiths and lapidary artists to have come out of Zuni. Their work spanned 4 decades... from hand file work in the 1940's and 1950's (which was before electricity arrived in Zuni) to their later jewelry which was made with the use of power tools. It is this early, handmade Weebothee jewelry that is their finest, their most collectible and their most valuable. As a matter of fact, sometimes the differences in quality between early Weebothee signed jewelry and later is so striking that it's hard to believe it was made by the same people. Is that a result of old age or was their hallmark used by other family members to capitalize on Weebothee's fame? That practice, in general, is not unheard of. In the early days (pre-1970) the Weebothee's were favorites of legendary American Indian trader, CG Wallace. Wallace supplied the Weebothee's and other top Zuni silversmiths with Swiss watchmaker files. It was the use of these fine tools that elevated the work of every silversmith who used them.
These files helped make the Zuni Pueblo a center for extraordinary Native American Jewelry. More to the point, the use of Swiss watchmaker files allowed the Weebothee's (who surely had the talent, patience and vision) to live up to their potential and create this magnificent Coral jewelry ensemble. It should be noted, most early Native American jewelry was made with coin silver. United States coin silver is 90% silver and 10% copper. That ratio produces a unique, beautiful patina. Native American jewelry made after the 1950's and 60's was usually made using commercially manufactured sheet silver. Sheet silver has a different alloy compostiton and produces a different patina as it ages. They sign their work with ZUNI LEE/MARY
RICHARD BEGAY, 1943-2013
Richard graduated from Chilocco Indian School, lettered in many sports and was in the National Honor Society. He worked for Southwest Industries for 10 years. He was self made entrepreneur and business man specializing in Navajo Silversmithing. Credited for being the first to do storyteller bracelets and channel work.
A master of mosaic inlay and double layer inlay. One of his Concho belts is displayed in the permanent collection at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. His work can also be found in the permanent collection at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ. He has work published in Gregory Schaaf's book "American Indian Jewelry I". He was also a Navajo composer and recording artist and nominated for a Grammy.
VERONICA BEGAY, NAVAJO
Veronica Begay also known as Ronni, was born and raised on the reservation in a small town called Many Farms, AZ. She has been working with Alltribes Indian Art™ off and on since 2002 as a silversmith. She now works full time since August 2007 in our shipping department. Veronica has learned making jewelry since she was 15 years old which her parents, Wilson and Linda Begay, taught her. She comes from a family of silversmiths. Her parents are well known on the reservation just like her uncle, Victor Begay, a famous and well known silversmith. She graduated from N.A.U. in May of 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Financing.
ROBERT KELLY, NAVAJO
Robert Kelly us known for his beautiful feather bracelets and clean workmanship.
PETE NATACHU, ZUNI
Making pueblo pottery is a complex and time consuming occupation. The most critical moments are mixing the clay at the beginning and the last step which is firing outdoors. Each potter digs and mixes their own clay. They use a series of screens to sift it and remove the impurities. Each pot is coiled, not thrown on a wheel. They use no glazes, only a stone to polish the piece. For the last step they build their own "firing" for each pot or group of pots.
R & L VACIT
The Zuni Indians are accomplished silversmiths who work entirely by hand in silver, gold and rare gem turquoise. The Zuni are noted for their precise turquoise, coral and other gem inlay. It was they who introduced turquoise to Southwest Native American jewelry in the late 1800's. Turquoise inlay jewelry was developed by the Zuni in the early 1900's. Using turquoise, coral, lapis and opal gemstones in Native American jewelry is like adding paints to canvas.
Berlinda Begay, a Navajo artist, has been stringing jewelry for about fifteen years. She has worked with us for the past year and a half creating gorgeous necklaces. She was self-taught, and said that she learned by watching others. Plus, Berlinda wants everyone to know that she's the nicest person in the world.
Emma Lincoln, Navajo, was born in Brigham City, Utah and was raised in Vanderwagon, New Mexico. She began to silversmith when she was 15 years old. Emma got married, had five children and shortly after her husband passed away. Emma has made alot of jewelry to support her family and to pay the bills. She is still working as a silversmith in Gallup, New Mexico. - See more at: http://www.southwestsilvergallery.com/artistbio.asp#sthash.pTfn2G6u.dpuf
LEO FEENEY, Non-Indian
Feeney, the son of a Navy dad, traveled the country as a child, spending most of his childhood in Key West, Florida before graduating high school in Pennsylvania. It was a silversmith teacher at a community college who developed Feeney's interest in making fine jewelry. As the teacher's apprentice Feeney learned to master the techniques that would later serve him well in a life-long career as a successful fine jeweler. A trip to the Southwest set him on his path, both personal and professional: Feeney met his wife at Havasupai Village deep in the Grand Canyon while both were passing through and the many shops in Flagstaff introduced him to the styles and stones of Southwestern jewelry.Feeney, the son of a Navy dad, traveled the country as a child, spending most of his childhood in Key West, Florida before graduating high school in Pennsylvania. It was a silversmith teacher at a community college who developed Feeney's interest in making fine jewelry. As the teacher's apprentice Feeney learned to master the techniques that would later serve him well in a life-long career as a successful fine jeweler. A trip to the Southwest set him on his path, both personal and professional: Feeney met his wife at Havasupai Village deep in the Grand Canyon while both were passing through and the many shops in Flagstaff introduced him to the styles and stones of Southwestern jewelry.
The rich history of Native American designs, in particular Zuñi Pueblo jewelry designs, greatly influenced the growth of Feeney's personal style. It is the frequent mixture of opaque, semi-precious and precious stones that creates Feeney's signature style. While turquoise, both blue and green, frequently figures in his intricate cluster designs set in sterling silver, a Leo Feeney piece may be composed of gaspeite, spiny oyster, red coral and/or peridot, garnet, amethyst, citrine, topaz, or any number of other stones.
"I begin at the center and work out," Feeney says, describing his creative process for beginning a new design. "There is such variation in individual stones that when you get them laid out, certain stones are just drawn together. Once you get the right blend of stones to work with, once you determine the size of the design, you can begin the silver work." Feeney generally builds several of one design at a time, altering the stone combinations, to make the most efficient cuts from his sheets of sterling silver. Every piece is touched with the smallest of fine details. And Feeney works seven days a week (with some breaks to fuel his passion for cars, the artist owns a '53 Cadillac Coupe de Ville), but, by and large, "If I'm home and it's daylight, I'm in the shop," he says – a devotion that goes a long way in explaining the artistry represented in every Leo Feeney piece.
Andres Quandelacy is one of the sons of the late Ellen Quandelacy and is better known for his miniature carvings and Zuni fetish necklaces and pendants. The younger brother of Stewart Quandelacy, Andres is well known for his small, intricate carvings of horses, mountain lions, buffaloes, and standing bears. Andres' style is unique and readily recognizable. In addition to his signature mountain lion carvings with the tail draped over the back, Andres has added the loop tail and the long tail in the last few years. As have the other members of the Quandelacy family, Andres has achieved international acclaim for his carvings, pendants, and fetish necklaces fashioned in the Quandelacy tradition. Andres is credited as the first Zuni carver to place a fish in the mouth of a standing bear.
ANDREW & LAURA QUAM
The Quams are Zuni Pueblo fetish carvers whose expertise focuses on carving turtle and frog fetishes. They use attractive stone and shell, including amber, serpentine, mother of pearl, abalone shell, turquoise, coral, picasso marble, and rainbow calcite to create magnificent turtle fetishes. Laura learned fetish carving from Andrew and his family, which includes Andrew's siblings Prudencia, Andres, and Georgette. Andrew's father was Anderson Emerson Quam (d), a well known bird fetish necklace artist. Emerson learned to carve from noted and special Zuni fetish carver, Leekya Deyuse (d). Sadly, Laura died in April 2014.
Approximately fifteen years ago, Claudia Peina learned how to carve bears from her late brother, Colvin Peina. Her talents were obvious. It was a matter of continuing to develop her skills over the years and experimenting with different materials that has led her to be recognized as a foremost Zuni carver.
Fabian Tsethlikai has carved fetishes for years in both a traditional and modern style using dolomite, soda light, serpentine among other stone for his bears and mountain lions. Fabian is married to Lisa Bobelu who is a sibling of talented Zuni fetish carvers, Bremette Epaloose and Vivella Cheama.
Russell Shack carves black marble and pipestone snakes, lizards, and owls using sgraffito style techniques to finish his appeal carvings. (Sgraffito (plural: sgraffiti; sometimes spelled scraffito) is a technique either of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colours to a moistened surface, or in ceramics, by applying to an unfired ceramic body two successive layers of contrasting slip, and then in either case scratching so as to produce an outline drawing.)
Both Russell and his sister, Roselle, carve moderately priced marble fetishes. Russell has carved for many years. Russell taught his friend, Jonathan Nateway, the technique of sgraffito, which he applies to his turtles and bears.
Herbert Him is a wonderful carver of turtles and bears appearing to eat fish aklong with other animals. Herbert's carvings appeal to a wide variety of Zuni fetish collections due to their realistic or naturalistic physical characteristics. His detailed bear, frog, and turtle carvings have given him a reputable name as an important Zuni carver.
WILL DENETDALE, NAVAJO
Will Denetdale - Silversmith: One of the most talented Navajo gold and silversmiths currently producing jewelry, Will Denetdale is making an indelible mark in the world of Native American art. His name is becoming famous in his trade; his art a standard by which other pieces may be judged. Will's success as an artist is proportionate to his devotion, and Will Denetdale lives to make jewelry.
A quiet man and a thirty-something bachelor, Will Denetdale rises each morning to the sun and his work. It is a life he has chosen for himself. Every day he thinks about his art, every day he is looking for new ideas for his pieces. At night he dreams about his work, the creation process stirring within him. He takes precious metals and stones and shapes them into objects of beauty, infinitely more precious because of his unique influence.
Born at Fort Defiance, Arizona, Will attended high school in Gallup, New Mexico, where he took silversmithing classes. After graduating he stayed in Gallup for awhile, working in the production of silver and turquoise jewelry, but his special talent craved personal expression.
Will now lives in Southern Arizona where he works in his home. When he is not traveling to gem shows or Indian markets, he spends about 8 hours a day working on his jewelry. He has created numerous award winning pieces.
Will likes to use unusual stones and chooses them with care. He has used Chrysoprase from Oregon, Sugilite from South Africa, Opals from Brazil or Australia, and Ammonite from Canada. His turquoise and coral are high quality stones: Bisbee, Morenci, Demali.
Finely detailed, Will's work shows an excellent finish. He has a balance and harmony that sets his work apart from other artists. Will studies art and often mixes contemporary motifs with traditional ones. He is constantly striving to improve his technique and takes immense pride in his work, ambitiously trying to make each new piece better than the last.
Will hopes his work of pride will become someone's pride and joy: well worn and well loved.
Vivian Barbone, Navajo
Vivian Barbone is from the Smith Lake area, New Mexico, and has been smithing for over 15 years. She meticulously matches her stones, though there can be a tremendous difference in color, even when formed inches apart. She has two sons.
Roland Begay is from Crownpoint, NM. He was a bull rider in his younger days and a barrel racer as well. He never lost the rodeo bug and today he spends a good part of his year traveling to rodeos around the Western United States with his wife, Geneva. Roland is also one of the best known makers of "Storyteller" overlay jewelry. Without using any templates, he carefully cuts designs out of one sheet of silver and solders them onto a second sheet of silver. He began creating these designs, in 1974, for a dealer in Gallup named Leon Ingram.
Christopher Pardell began sculpting at the tender age of four, and cites his family as one of his first major invluences. By his teenage years, Pardell had come to the realization that sculpting was to beconme his life's work. Influenced by the work of renowned sculptors Russell, Remington and Rodin, Pardell wanted to pursue his passion for realism.
His formal education was laid aside in favor of an apprentice moldmaker position with a commercial statuary company, and it was there that he received what he considers to be his "real education in art."
As an apprentice to the Italian master artisans who ran the statuary, Christopher rapidly learned the skills that would enable him to excel as an artist and earn the stature that has come with his success. Never sketching his designs on paper, Christopher composes all of his work in three dimensions, in a maquette. This unique approach explains the unparalleled beauty and detail that are the trademarks of his work. Christopher's exceptional style and special talent have served to impress even the most discriminating collector.
The sense of tragedy and drama of the American Indian has long been a favorite theme of his. "I try to convey the spirit behind the Native American lifestyle. The sculptural nature of Native American dress, their use of dance as a metaphor for their vision of a world in constant motion, and their intriguing way of life, provide a rich field of composition and drama from which he creates," Pardell says. Upon reflecting on what his art means to him, Christopher states, "I try to express myself through sculpture. It's all I've ever done. It's all I know how to do." Respected and admired by fellow artists, craftsmen and collectors of fine art, Pardell tells us that he will always do sculpture because it allows him to live. "Sculpture is very meditative and cleansing for my soul. In the concrete slab that lays by my studio, I have engraved the phrase 'life is a performance artwork, make yours beautiful.' That's the principle I live by."
For the past twelve years or so, Chris has stopped creating "commercial" art pieces and concentrated instead on public projects and his own sculptural design firm. His Letters Home Veterans Memorial shown below was dedicated in 2004 and is located in the Temecula Duck Pond park. The photo is the property of the City of Temecula, CA.
GARY G. SANCHEZ, HISPANIC
For over 30 years, Gary has been creating original designs in sterling silver, with particular attention to the stones and vibrant colors they impart on each piece he creates. He incorporates his mastery as a silversmith and talent as an artist in "stretching the Imagination of creativity". Inspired by Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi cultures, his designs reflect an unexpected contemporary energy, setting his creations a step ahead of tradition. "My work is about perfecting the designs. It's all about the colors of the stones, how they mix with metals, and nature's use of light.".Gary G. Designs are featured in the finest galleries across the southwest. They are featured in many local and national ads. Gary G. Designs is a member of Design America and Artists of New Mexico
Stanton Hannaweeke is an established Zuni fetish carver who specializes in carving Zuni pig fetishes. Stanton's brother, Eddington Hannaweeke, is known for carving Zuni bear fetishes that have a comical twist. Stanton's father, Charles (d), was a Zuni jeweler, as was his uncle, Thomas, who is considered one of the finest Zuni Pueblo jewelers.
If you don't have a Fred Weekoty bullfrog, you are really missing out! Fred is a versatile carver, but is best known for his bulging eyed frog creations! Fred has been carving for a number of years and tries his hand at carvings other than bullfrogs....his moles are outstanding....but Fred prefers to stick with the traditional and what he knows and loves, and that is the simpler carvings somewhat reminiscent of earlier days
HORACE IULE (1901-1978) Aiule
Horace Iule was a third generation silversmith. His grandfather, a man known as Sneezing Man, was identified by John Adair in his book "Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths" as one of the first silversmiths at Zuni Pueblo. Horace began working as a silversmith in the 1930s after returning from school in Phoenix where he had studied blacksmithing. Horace learned silversmithing from his father and eventually became an expert of the casting method. He was one of the first Zunis to create the Knifewing god in silver. Horace Iule also taught jewelry making at Zuni Day School, teaching and influencing a whole generation of Zuni smiths. Horace taught his son Wilbur Iule who carried on the tradition.
MERLE HOUSE, JR, NAVAJO
Merle House Jr. is from the Ganado, Arizona area. He has been learning silversmithing and stone inlay work from his father-in-law, award winning Navajo silversmith Ervin P. Tsosie. Ervin Tsosie's work is highly regarded and sought out worldwide. He hand cuts gemstones and other materials such as jet, coral, lapis, malachite, turquoise and makes intricate murals based on ceremonial and mythical figures. Ervin's son-in-law, Merle House creates his own designs but the similarity to the style of his father-in-law is unmistakable. It is as if he is filling a blank canvas with intricate strokes of stone, very much like his mentor.