Loading...

Artist Information

Navajo Artist Calvin Begay

 

Calvin Begay Photo

 

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 an 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.

 

Navajo Artist Tommy Singer

Tommy Singer Photo

Tommy Singer is a World Famous Navajo Silversmith. His distinct style of Indian Jewelry is recognized the world over. Tommy is considered by many as one of the greatest contemporary Indian jewelry silversmiths of our time. His Native American Indian jewelry work is coveted by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Tommy has been a silversmith for over 28 years. He learned the art of silversmithing from his father when he was just 7 years old. His Father Tsinnigine Hathali was a Navajo Medicine man. Tommy incorporates many traditional sandpainting and rug designs of the Navajo People into his jewelry. Tommy began creating jewelry full-time at the age of 21. His early works were done in the Silver overlay technique. His work soon began to feature Turquoise stones. While working with scrap turquoise chips, Tommy pioneered the technique of Chip inlay used by thousands of artists to this day. For many years Tommy and his brothers created Jewelry using the Chip inlay style. In recent years, Tommy has returned to his roots by creating Exquisite Silver Overlaid Jewelry with intricate designs. His current work often includes 14 Karat Gold Overlaid on Silver. Tommy also carves storyteller scenes with tremendous skill. His carved silver Bead necklaces are also highly sought after.

Zuni Artist Effie Calavaza

Effie Calavaza Photo

 

 Effie Calavaza is from Zuni, New Mexico. 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.

Darrell Cadman

Darrell Cadman

Navajo silversmith Darrell Cadman was born in 1969 in Gallup, New Mexico. He started working with silver in 1992. His brothers Andy and Donovan as well as his half brothers Gary and Sunshine Reeves are all very well known silversmiths. He signs his work "D" or "D Cadman."

Michael Perry

Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a young artist with a creative and innovative style. His jewelry combines both the traditional and contemporary.

Michael Perry 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.

Nora Bill and Emerson Bill

Nora Bill and her husband, Emerson, live near Santa Fe. The Bill Family is well know throughout the southwest and especially in Santa Fe, New Mexico where their pieces are extremely sought after and often fetch a handsome price at the plaza shops & galleries. Emerson Bill and his wife Nora , Navajo are perhaps most well known for their use of heavy hand stamping patterns that produce a unique overlay look that they combine with a satin finish perhaps inspired by finishes often found in Hopi jewelry. The result is a very distinct appearance that sets their work apart from other artists. Another trait of the Bill family is the use extremely heavy gauge silver uncommon in other pieces here in the Southwest. The result is a very bold and solid piece of art that is timeless and will no doubtable be passed from generation to generation.

Albert Jake

Albert Jake was born in 1959 in the Zuni Pueblo south of Gallup, New Mexico.  He learned silversmithing from his parents. He specializes in traditional set stones and cluster jewelry with intricate stampwork. He has been smithing since 1987.  He also creates sand-paintings and makes pottery. During the summers he works as a forest fire fighter. He lives with his wife and two daughters today in Rahmah, New Mexico, near the Zuni Pueblo.

 

 

Edison Yazzie

 

Edison Yazzie

 

“Edison Yazzie is one of the most well- known and talented Native American artists in the Southwest. He was born in 1964 to the Black Sheep Clan and Under Folded Arms. Edison’s entire family is also steeped in Navajo artistic tradition. Edison was drawn to the jewelry arts as a youth and has continued to perfect his style of geometric inlay for the last three decades. As a master craftsman, every piece that he creates has a traditional meaning. The colors and designs are carefully chosen to tell a story. Edison has enjoyed teaching other artists and passing on his craft throughout the years, each of which carries on a piece of his personality in their art. Sharing is a very important concept to Edison. He takes great pride in passing on his belief in Navajo tradition. Each piece of his art reflects his personality, cultural heritage, and is a display of his life as a Navajo artist. He continues to create his unique inlay and is still discovering new ways to express himself through his art.”

 

 

Guy Hoskie

Guy Hoskie is 54 years old. He resides in Arizona and is married with two sons, both of whom are serving in the armed forces. He has been an amazing silversmith for eighteen to twenty years. He learned from close relatives, the Cadmans and Reeves. He is well known for the quality of his pieces. He uses fine natural turquoise with heavy stamp work.

 

Andrew Cadman

Navajo - Born in 1966, Andy Cadman creates beautifully stamped silver jewelry using a variety of stones and materials.  He is the older brother of Darrell Cadman.  Andy, his brothers Darrell and Donovan, and his half brothers Gary and Sunshine Reeves all learned much of their trade from David Reeves (Gary and Sunshine's now deceased full brother).  Therefore, all of the brother's silverwork exhibit much of the same characteristics and a common feel.


Phillip Sanchez

 

Phillip Sanchez

 

 

Phillip was born at San Felipe, Pueblo in New Mexico in 1951. He was raised on a large ranch along with 8 sisters and 5 brothers together they tended all sorts of live stock and farmed lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. He has stayed close to his roots with live stock of his own, and he still enjoys horseback riding to check up on his live stock or just go for a ride at sunset.

His father made turquoise necklaces from natural nuggets to sell, but it was his older brother who got him interested in silver work. Phil started to work with silver in junior high school. It was there he learn the basics of jewelry making and crafting. He continued to work on jewelry through out his high school years perfecting his technique. His brother and father instilled in him to always stay true to his culture, and that shows in his jewelry designs where he uses clouds and rain along with other symbols which can also be seen on baskets and pottery from his pueblo.

Phil loves to travel and see different parts of the country. In his travels he has traveled to Canada a number of times. He also likes to go fishing, hunting and just about any activity that gets him outdoors. He speaks a number of Native American pueblo dialects including San Felipe, Santa Domingo, Acoma, Zia, Luguna and Cochiti.

Tony Garcia

Tony Garcia was born in Laguna, New Mexico, a small Native American village near Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a young man, Tony joined the United States Marine Corp. He served for three years, two of which he was stationed in Japan. Tony began to learn silversmithing by watching his brother-in-law at a young age. He watched him make jewelry and get paid for it. He saw how his brother-in-law used his tools and melted the silver. Then Tony tried it for himself. He melted the solder of tin cans and used it to practice silverwork. At first he made plain bracelets from strips of silver set with a turquoise stone and decorated with stamp designs. His skills increased until he was proficient in most silversmithing techniques. He has made many forms of silverwork that he could sell, from candlesticks and bowls to all types of jewelry. He has used these silversmithing skills for nearly 40 years. Tony's talent and skills combine to create beautiful, unique jewelry. He is a master at creating fascinating jewelry and has made a profound impact on the appreciation of contemporary Southwestern jewelry. Tony and his wife currently live on the Native American Reservation in the village of Tahojiillee, New Mexico. He has three sons and one daughter.

 

Larson Lee - Navajo Artist

Larson Lee (Navajo) was born in 1960 in Lukachukai, AZ on the Navajo Reservation. He is one of twelve children; he has 4 sisters and 7 brothers. His grandfather Joe Lee was a well known silversmith and medicine man. As a small child Larson would travel across the country dancing at pow-wows with his grandfather as far away as San Francisco to Chicago. There is a large drawing of his grandfather (Joe Lee) in a museum in San Francisco, as well as post cards of him sitting in a Hogan (Navajo house). Larson used to watch his grandfather design and create his sterling silver jewelry pieces as a child. Later when Larson went off to school, he took classes in general silver working techniques. He used brass at first to practice, he started with small pieces and worked up to larger and more intricate pieces. He inherited not only the skills and inspiration from his grandfather but his tools of the trade when he passed. Larson has designed everything from boot tips to a belt buckle for Bob Hope. His work can be seen in the 1989 summer issue of National Geographic magazine where they featured Native American Jewelry and a squash blossom he made. He is not limited to just working with silver, he likes to design pieces in gold also. He keeps tradition and modern design in mind when he creates individual unique pieces using his native artistic skills. Larson hobbies include dirt bike riding, working on muscle cars and bronco riding in Native American Rodeos. He also enjoys running 22 miles up the mountain near his home at least 2-3 times a month.

 

Kathy Yazzie - Navajo Artist

Kathy Yazzie was born and raised in Gallup, New Mexico on the Navajo reservation. Kathy learned to make silver jewelry from her parents, both skilled artisans, too young to practice with silver she was turned loose to practice on tin, mostly old tin cans. She soon began to develop her own artistic designs and styles. Kathy's family ties have heavily influenced her artistic development. Her family stressed the importance of productivity, while insisting on high quality. Kathy worked in Gallup at a number of trading posts before moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico to work with a silver jewelry manufacturer designing and making her traditional styles. Traditional styles are her favorite type of jewelry to make. She usually starts with the turquoise stone and designs the article of jewelry around it. Therefore, jewelry of simple designs are chosen to show the turquoise to its best advantage. Occasionally she creates a number of one-of-a-kind pieces, but prefers to do the more traditional styles. The charm of Kathy's traditional style continues to enthrall jewelry buyers all over the world.

 

Derrick Gordon

Derrick Gordon began to silversmith when he was 19. He learned by watching his uncle Delbert Gordon who helped him.

Derrick loves to create bracelets; he never draws out his patterns before hand. He’ll dream up his design while looking at his stone, then begins creating. He loves the high blues of Kingman and Morenci turquoise. Today, he works with his handmade tools and stamps in intricate patterns and swirls which make his jewelry one-of-a-kind.
 


In addition to being a silversmith, Derrick is also a carpenter, a mechanic and a musician. If he is not silversmithing, he will work on building their home on the Navajo reservation. He enjoys the outdoors with his family. He married his wife Ernestine in 1995. They have five children, three girls and two boys, Danielle, Chanelle, Adrienne, Derrick Jr. and Matthew. He is very insistent on teaching his Diné language to his children. He is also passing on his musical skills to his two boys. 


He says, “The best thing about being a silversmith is being able to express your designs through silver.” The next big thing he would like to learn is how to work with Ingot silver. His message for the upcoming artist, “Be Yourself, Be Creative, Create & Come Up With Your Own Ideas & Styles.”

 

Joe Piaso Jr.

Joe Piaso Jr.

Joe Piaso Jr. was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 10, 1957. He was raised on the Navajo reservation by his grandfather in Canoncito, New Mexico. As a small boy, Joe watched his grandfather make jewelry and this is what first sparked his interest in the art. It wasn’t until Joe was of school age and was sent to Albuquerque Boarding School that he actually began to develop his abilities. He took classes to learn how to silversmith there from a Santa Domingo Indian who greatly inspired him to further his abilities. By the age of thirteen, Joe became skilled enough to make and sell his own jewelry. This gave him a lot of confidence to continue on developing his skills, as well as provided the benefit of extra spending money. After leaving school, Joe met his wife, Melinda, and they had two children, Lyle and Opal. Lyle has taken an interest in silversmithing and Joe has had the great privilege teaching him the art. Joe now continues on into his third decade of silversmithing with his son, Lyle, working next to him to carry on the tradition.