A couple years ago, I put together a “Master Jewelers” panel and invited artists who I believed were some of the best and brightest, established and up-and-coming Native American jewelers. The line-up was amazing and the panel discussion we had yielded some great information and, more importantly, a lot of laughs.
But one thing was very apparent: none of the jewelers on the panel felt comfortable calling themselves a “master” of anything. They all felt like they were still learning and to be a true master of anything one must have a good handle of ALL aspects of the craft. They felt like they still had a long way to go.
In a sense, with my latest endeavor I wanted to concentrate strictly on female jewelers. Each jeweler possesses the same caliber skills and accolades as any artist from my previous panel. In my experience as a purveyor of Native American art there is a sensibility that female artists possess that makes their pieces sing with a different energy. Whenever I attend a show it’s something that I seek out and look forward to the most. I decided this panel would be all female artists and instead of concentrating on their “master” status I would dive deeper into their creative process and expression.
Selecting the panel was no easy task. There are many female jewelers that do incredibly complex and intricate work here in the Southwest. My primary goal was to include a good representation of different tribes and mediums. As I went down the list and started contacting artists, it quickly became apparent that these ladies were in demand! Every date I threw out there someone had a prior engagement, were busy preparing for an upcoming show, or were backed up with orders to the point that the only free time they’d have would be next winter. It was a pleasant surprise to see them doing so well, but it also left me in a conundrum.
In the end, I found a group of women that have earned the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the best in Native American jewelry and are also shaping that industry in new and exciting ways. Some of these artists I have had my eye on for years. I’ve patiently watched them grow and expand their craft and now, to their credit, they are multiple award–winners and game-changers in their own right. Some I have only recently met and am completely blown away by the amazing pieces they create. Each jeweler is distinctly different from the next and their personalities are vastly different. To say I am extremely excited to have a sit-down with these artists and get down to it is an understatement.
We at Shumakolowa Native Arts are very pleased to introduce you to our line-up. From Jemez Pueblo, we have Glenda Loretto. Representing Santo Domingo and Acoma Pueblos we have Althea Cajero, and lastly, from the Mindu, Washoe, and Navajo tribes we have Liz Wallace. Each of these jewelers has a unique and exciting approach to creating masterpieces that have a feminine sensibility to them while standing strong alongside their contemporaries. It will be an honor and privilege to visit with these creative powerhouses and share our discussion with you!
Fire, Stones, & the Brilliance of Love: A Conversation with Female Jewelers
Saturday, February 11, 5-7 pm
Shumakolowa Native Arts
2401 12th St NW
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Stay tuned to shumakolowa.com's featured artist page as we will be adding more beautiful work by these talented jewelers shortly!