Anglo, born in 1935. Les learned to silversmith in 1962. He has a successful jewelry business where he works along side of Native American artists who design his style of jewelry. Les on occasion will also make pieces as he is an accomplished silversmith. The jewelry he produces has a distinctive flair which we call a " flowing design." Our family has worked with Les for over 30 years and we consider Les and his wife Shirley to be close friends. Some of the artists who work with Les are Fritson Toledo, Johnny Watson and Harry Sandoval.
Loren T. Begay
Navajo. Born in 1969 in Winslow Arizona. Loren has 2 daughters. Loren is known for his beautiful work with exquisite stones and heavy weight silver work. He is considered to be one of the best Navajo jewelers.
Navajo. Born in 1959. Ernest works in both silver and gold and is also an excellent lapidary. He is known for his mosaic inlay jewelry and has won top awards for his jewelry. He is considered to be one of the best Navajo jewelers.
Kee Joe Benally
Navajo. Born in 1936. A man of few words, Kee Joe Benally has been an enviable Navajo silversmith for over 50 years. Having no formal education Kee Joe taught himself to read and is currently the President of the Lupton Chapter of the Navajo Tribal Government.
Many artists have been inspired by Kee Joe's talent and designs, he is the orignal designer of the silver and copper Navajo Wedding Basket Jewelry. Kee Joe has too many awards to list and continues to win more every year.
Effie is from Zuni, New Mexico. She incorporates large stones and snake designs in her work, using both turquoise and coral. The majority of the work she does is cast. In 1956 Effie began silversmithing which she learned from her husband, Juan Calavaza, who is now deceased (ca. 1970). Effie shared Juan's mark, JUAN C. ZUNI until his death. After his death, Effie marks her work, EFFIE C. ZUNI. This hallmark is still used by Effie and her three daughters. 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.
Lucy Cayatineto, Navajo – (In her own words)
I lived in Gallup New Mexico and learned to make jewelry from my Mom who made jewelry for 25 years until she had to quit because of health problems. When I was 15 years old I started soldering pieces together. When I was 18 years old I started carving little fetishes. Then when I turned 20 years old I started inlaying jewelry.
I started out with big pieces and went to more designs as I gained experience. I like to mix stones to make the jewelry look very colorful and to make my jewelry go with many different outfits. I am Navajo and live in Zuni. I like to make different jewelry that no one else has designed. I have 3 girls and two of my girls are actually interested in making jewelry and that makes me happy.
Navajo. Freddy Charley was born in 1962 in Shiprock, New Mexico. He started silversmithing in 1987 after being mostly self-taught with some help from Randy Shorty. He is married with 3 children.
Ava Marie Coriz
Santo Domingo. Ava was born in 1948 into the Santo Domingo Pueblo and is a member of the Antelope Clan. She was inspired to continue the long lived tradition of hand making jewelry from her ancestors. Ava specializes in constructing hand strung and hand ground beaded necklaces. She was taught all the fundamentals of working with raw nuggets of various stones at the age of 14. In 1969, she learned the art of working with silver. Today, Ava combines her knowledge of stones and silver to construct the finest beaded necklaces, using quality stones in the process. Ava is related to: Rodney Coriz, Daniel Coriz (nephews), and Lupe Pena (father).
Santo Domingo. Daniel was taught by his parents, Valentino and Nestoria Coriz. In 1989 Daniel began creating hand cut inlay and heishe. His formal education is as a registered nurse. He has two sons: one of which is currently learning the art of jewelry making.
Navajo Silversmith: One of the most talented Navajo gold and silversmiths currently producing jewelry, Will Denetdale is making an incredible 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, Turquoise Mountain, and Natural Blue Ribbon Turquoise.
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.
Raylan and Patty Edaakie
Raylan and Patty Edaakie are phenomenal Zuni artists. They moved from making small, basic pieces of jewelry to bigger and more elaborate pieces. When they first started making jewelry, their designs were simple and required fewer pieces of stones. Now, the designs in their pieces have fine lines and details. Their jewelry has also shifted from strictly traditional pieces to include more contemporary work. Raylan and Patty have carried on with the traditions of their parents. Being a silversmith is a connection that they both have with the memories of their parents. The sunface design, the Knifewing design and the Rainbow God are all original designs from their parents. The sunface design is now their main trademark, and it is one of the more traditional pieces that they produce. The stones used are mostly coral and turquoise, which are often viewed as traditional colors, and then set the stones using the inlay process. The sunface design is often on their earrings, pendants, nacklaces, watch tips, and bolos. They have learned to incorporate new techniques, new types of stones and new designs to our jewelry.
Zuni. Is the mother of Carl Etsate, fetish carver, and the daughter of famed Zuni artists Rosalie and Augustine Pinto. Beverly continues her parents' tradition of inlay jewelry and has become recognized for her style of raised, mosaic inlay jewelry. Her favorite designs are kachinas, mudheads and bears. She has over 30 years of experience in her craft. In that time, she has quickly become one of Zuni's foremost Jewelers
Sam (Sampson) Gray
Navajo. Sam Gray was born in 1964. His father was from the Zuni Pueblo and his mother was Navajo. Whether Sam is creating a Zuni-inspired Shalako pendant or a traditional Navajo bracelet, you can be sure that the piece is one-of-a-kind and museum-quality. He is known for his use of heavy gauge sterling silver and quality stones. Sam Gray has been providing beautiful earrings, rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, buckles, bolos and handmade charms to redrocktrading.com since the late 1990’s.
When Sam is not making wonderful pieces of Native American jewelry, he spends time on his ranch near the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico tending to his cattle and riding horses.
Paul and Dorothy Gutierrez
The Gutierrez's are a husband and wife team that specialize in Native American Indian figurative pottery. Paul "White Corn" Gutierrez and Dorothy "Corn Maiden" Gutierrez are both full blooded Native American Indians; Paul was born in 1940 into the Santa Clara-Tewa Pueblo and Dorothy was born in 1940 into the Navajo Nation. Paul is from a family of well-known potters, the grandson of Lela and Van Gutierrez and the son of Luther Gutierrez, (of Margaret & Luther), all of the Santa Clara Pueblo. Paul and Dorothy have been married since 1965, and have two sons, Paul Gutierrez Jr. and Gary Gutierrez. Encouraged by their relatives, Paul and Dorothy began to learn the art of working with clay at an early age. Paul has been working with clay since the age of 12 and Dorothy since grammar school. They were both taught the fundamentals of working with clay using traditional methods and ancient techniques. Paul and Dorothy now specialize in handmade clay pottery such as storyteller pieces, Mudheads, nativity scenes, angels, ornaments, and animals. The Gutierrez's create their sculptures by first gathering the clay for their artwork from within the Santa Clara Pueblo and then preparing the clay in the traditional way by drying, grinding, and sifting before it is mixed with water to produce the clay medium. The Gutierrez sculptures are created by hand pinching and then they are air dried and fired in the traditional way (outdoors with horse manure). The Gutierrez's sign their artwork as Paul & Dorothy P. Gutierrez, SCP. They create unique Santa Clara blackware Storytellers which have become highly valued among collectors and sell quickly. Gary Gutierrez, the son of Dorothy and Paul Gutierrez, is also a very well-known American Indian artist. Gary also makes figurative pottery but in a larger scale as he does very fine human figures that are well formed and beautifully polished. Gary's work is a blend of the traditional and the contemporary and stands well as contemporary Native American artwork. His work continues to gain in recognition and popularity as well.
L. Bruce Hodgins
Navajo. Bruce is an award winning master silversmith. He has won several awards for his beautiful work. Bruce swings easily from Navajo revival patterns to contemporary pieces. His one of a kind jewelry is now in collections all over the world. Becoming bored using the expected turquoise in native jewelry designs; Bruce has incorporated exotic stone in this three dimensional concept jewelry. Known especially for these pendants with handmade chains, bola ties and large bracelets, Bruce has broken the barrier between craft and fine art.
Born in Flagstaff to a full blooded Navajo mother, Mary Dodge Hodgins, and an Irish/Scotch father, Wellesley Hodgins, Bruce spent his entire childhood at Second Mesa, Arizona on Hopi. Bruce's father was Principal at Second Mesa Day School and his mother helped keep life on the school compound running smoothly. Bruce, after high school graduation, studied biology for nearly four years at Northern Arizona University where he also took jewelry classes. Bruce, however, credits Sidney Secakuku, Jr. as his foremost teacher in fine jewelry making.
A man of many talents, Bruce made a living as a predator hunter and trapper during his college years, as well as doing electrical work and other contracted services. Since 1982 jewelry has been his full time vocation and the one that gives him most satisfaction.
Bruce currently lives in Arizona with his wife, Rita Alexander-Hodgins, an artist. He is a grandfather to boy - girl twins and enjoys mountain biking, fishing, hunting and outdoor life in general.
Gary "Yellow Corn" Louis
Acoma. Gary "Yellow Corn" Louis is an award winning Acoma Pueblo artist who has won top honors at the New Mexico State Fair. Gary Louis was born March 20, 1959 and is the brother of Irwin Louis and husband of Corrine Louis, who he often collaborates with. He is an award winning artist, including the New Mexico State Fair, Albuquerque. He is member of the Yellow Corn Clan of Acoma Pueblo and has been making pottery since 1967. He specializes in graffito and horsehair pottery.
Miami-Peoria-Cherokee. Ted has won over fifty significant awards. His carvings are images of his heritage and culture of stores passed down. For the discriminating collector, the work of Ted Miller offers the ultimate in arts acquisition - beauty and history skillfully meshed with utility. Both the handles and blades of his knives are expertly handcrafted to combine beauty with strength. Made of 440C stainless steel, 56-60 Rockwell, and shed stag antler enhanced with semiprecious stones. Ted is no longer with us; he passed on December 19, 2008. We will definitely miss him. He was an outstanding artist!
Santo Domingo. Christoper was born in 1972. He graduated from the Indian School in Santa Fe New Mexico in 1990 and then enlisted in the U.S. Army. He is a veteran of Desert Storm. After he returned from Iraq he then enrolled in the military culinary school at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. When his 3 year service committment was complete he returned to Santo Domingo and worked as a chef at area tribal casinos for almost 9 years. Christopher returned to his jewelry making in 2003. He is married to Luwanna Tenorio and she works with him full-time. They have four children. Christopher is a phenonmenal artist!
Navajo. Jonathan is currently in his mid-forties (as of 2009). He is a very friendly artist that specializes in making beautiful bracelets. His bracelets are known to be made of heavy-guage sterling silver with deep set stampwork. Jonathan uses both traditional stampwork and also a combination of horizontal or vertical lines in his pieces. His work many times will be a combination of both sterling silver and 14KT Gold.
Navajo. Louise works soley in a Santo Domingo style. Almost all of her exquisite creations include spiny oyster shell. She also uses cowry, mother of pearl and turquoise in many of her pieces. Her work speaks for itself!
Navajo. Michael Perry is a young artist with a creative and innovative style. His jewelry combines both the traditional and contemporary. Michael excels in overlay and tuffa casting silver and gold jewelry. Unique designs and attention to detail make his work stand out from the rest. His artwork is always bold and exciting.
Happy Piasso was born in 1972 in Soccoro, New Mexico and raised in Alamo. She learned the art of silver smithing from her husband Rudy in 1994.
Navajo. Born in 1972 in Soccoro, New Mexico and raised in Alamo. Happy learned the art of silver smithing from her husband Rudy in 1994.
Navajo. Born in 1954, Lena Platero is a self taught silversmith specializing in sterling silver feather jewelry. She creates detailed feather pins, earrings, pendants and much more with and without stones. Her last name, Platero, means silversmith.
Zuni. Alice learned her craft from her parents, Wayne and Doris Ondelacy, who are well known for their cluster jewelry from the 1930's to 1950's. Alice is known for her fabulous cluster work and has won many awards. She has been featured in magazines, galleries and museums. Her work is sought after by collectors worldwide. She is the mother of Lorraine Waatsa, Alvina Quam, Shirley Quam, Wayne Quam and Elgin Quam.
Dickie and Amy Quandelacy
Zuni. Both have been creating beautiful work for approximately 30 years. They have some very unusual designs. When they were working together they signed their work, D.& A.Q.
Navajo. Born March 21, 1955, on the Canoncito Navajo Reservation in New Mexico to Frances and John Ration. Benson grew up watching his father make jewelry, and by age eleven, was making his first pieces. His father told him that no matter what else he did with his life he would always have silversmithing to fall back on. Throughout his childhood, Benson was a talented artist. After he graduated from high school, he enrolled in a one-year program at U.S. Silkscreen and Graphics School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Upon completion of the course he worked for three years as a silk screener and graphics designer. In 1978, he "fell back" on the art of silversmithing. With a look and style that he developed as a graphics designer, he began making three-dimensional figures in silver. He became inspired to make three-dimensional spiritual beings like those found in ancient rock art. His many wearable art designs include Kachina figures, Southwestern animals, feathers and Navajo inspired geometric patterns. When asked how he comes up with his designs, he says, "I remember what I see and make pieces in my mind." Benson is considered by many as one of the greatest contemporary Indian jewelry silversmiths of our time. His jewelry is collected by collectors and enthusiasts all across the world.
Navajo. Born 1943 in Canoncito, New Mexico. Harry is a self-taught silversmith and has worked as a silversmith since he was 25 years old. He has worked with Les Baker for over 15 years.
Bobby and Corraine Shack
Zuni. Bobby and Corraine are probably best known for their hummingbird necklace. However their other work is exquisite. They sign their work B.& C.Shack.
Navajo. Born in 1940 and is from Winslow, Arizona. He grew up in a small community of Dilcon on the Navajo Reservation. Tommy uses sterling silver and turquoise to create artistic expressions of Navajo traditional ways. Tommy states, "I make jewelry out of silver. Every piece is made with the meanings from my traditional ways - the Navajo way of living. My father was a silversmith. He taught me and wanted me to continue this trade. It was my father's dream that I learn to silversmith so that I can continue his belief." 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." This invention was so successful that many Navajo craftsmen copy the method and every Indian jewelry store carry some form of chip-inlay. Tommy's work is well known internationally. His work is featured in a number of Indian art publications. One can easily recognize Tommy's work. He signs his finished pieces with "T. Singer" or with a "T and a crescent moon." Whether Tommy creates a bolo tie, buckle, ring or bracelet, he states that, "All my jewelry are 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." Today, he and his family also make traditional heavy stamp work and overlay jewelry. 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.
Navajo. Born in 1961, in Cuba, New Mexico. Fritson started working with silver in 1976. He is a self-taught silversmith who works both in silver and gold. Fritson creates hand-fabricated, heavy stamp work jewelry like that of Navajos a century ago. He has worked with Les Baker for over 20 years and has won many awards for his work.
Ben and Angeline Touchine
Navajo. Well known artist who lives outside Gallup, New Mexico. He and his wife Angeline create fine quality jewelry, both in stone work as well as inlay. Their daughter Vangie is also following in her parents' footsteps and is producing some wonderful pieces.
Navajo. Daughter of Ben and Angeline Touchine. Now making jewelry on her own with a dinstinctive style.
Navajo. Ervin was born September 1, 1970 and is the brother of Irving Tsosie. Ervin is a self-taught artist and began making jewelry at the age of 17. Ervin is known for his intricate, mosaic and channel inlay jewelry. Much of his work is based on ceremonial and mythical figures and spiritual beings representing Navajo culture. His ideas come from meditation, ceremonials and prayer. Ervin has won many awards for his work. His work has appeared in various shows including the Santa Fe Indian Market and Intertribal Ceremonial, Gallup and in some of the finest Galleries.
DuWayne Turpen - Navajo (In his own words)
I was born and raised on the Zuni and Navajo Reservations. My grandfather, being Zuni, taught me how to carve at a young age. After watching him carve through the years, I became more involved in the traditional beliefs of the fetish, while putting my own creativity into each stone. There is an animal in each stone I pick up...I just have to find it. You'll find my work at some of the better Indian Art Galleries throughout the Southwest and beyond. When I am not in the shop, you will find me at a nearby lake or river, enjoying what I do second best.
The Vail Family
Navajo. This wonderful family is well known for their contemporary style of pottery known as “horse hair”. Tom Vail married into the Navajo Nation. He, along with his children William “Skeeter” Vail, Loveitha Vail-Sanchez, and their spouses Geraldine Vail and Ray Sanchez produce this style of pottery. Tom was born in 1933. Skeeter was born in 1961, his wife, Gerie, was born in 1960, and Loveitha was born in 1967. They pour a ceramic white slip substance into a mold and it foms itself into whatever shape of pot that they decide on making. Then, they pour out the excess slip and let it set to dry. The ceramicware is then cleaned and polished. They heat up the ceramicware in a kiln and then randomly toss authentic hair taken from the mane (thin lines) or the tail (thick lines) of a horse on the heated pottery. The resulting carbon being drawn into the surface of the pot creates the wonderful designs and patterns. Finally, they clean the finished pottery with a dry material and the finished product is a unique marblized flare styled pot. This process of art is very hazardous and time consuming. When asked why they do this they all agreed and replied “We enjoy not knowing what designs will form on the pot itself after the horse hair has burned into the pot.” They sign their pottery as: Skeeter & Gerie Vail, Vail, and Loveitha Vail-Sanchez.