I visited Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos with my brother in November of 1991. The focus of the nine day trip was the study of Native American Jewelry and a bit more broadly, enjoying other crafts like weaving and pottery making. Chale showed me the museums and the missions and we visited some of the local craftspeople in several small villages and bought Cerrillos turquoise from the hands that had cut and cleaned and polished them. We visited Acoma and a number of communities. I proudly wore my own jewelry and was thrilled to have a stranger stop me on the plaza in Santa Fe to ask where I got my Isleta Cross Necklace. I made it in that style and signed it was my reply.
Since my first piece of silver with turquoise was purchased for me by my aunt Maurice when I was 15, I have loved this jewelry which is so natural for women of the southwest to wear. In 1990 or 91, I purchased a Navajo bracelet from a dear friend, Eula. I expressed a desire for a good collection of turquoise and silver to Jackie. He replied "Lets make some ourselves." I was stunned but thrilled. We signed up for a 6 session local silver smithing class which taught basic silver work focused on modern styling. That was enough! We were off to a fun adventure with our new craft as I studied all I could find to read on the Native American jewelry, liking particularly the Navajo work and also the earlier crosses of the fur trade. I greatly enjoyed a book called "Heart of the Dragon Fly". This book tells how the double barred cross of St Stephen worn by the early Spaniards reminded the native Indians of their own symbol for water, a dragon fly with its four wings. So the Indians quickly adopted the dragon fly cross and the Spaniards were pleased they had made so many converts.
Jack and I ordered a full array of tools and silver from Gallop NM, and found a supply of good turquoise in Fredericksburg from a woman whose late husband once worked in the oil business in New Mexico and Arizona and had been a lapidary in his spare time. With all of this, I happily pounded and stamped and soldered, and Jack liked to work with old silver coins which he was very good with. We bought dimes from the 1930's and Jack made wonderful dime beads. Some of our work was sold to close friends and a little of it belongs to family members but I have over half of it to wear myself still.
So this explains my interest in viewing the great collections of jewelry in New Mexico.
My Daughter Cheryl plays guitar well.
That mountain still calls me, I may have to go back. As an aside, I can see interesting hooked rug designs inspired by elements there.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Friday, September 5, 2014
More but I cannot find at present. A lot of repetition here. e