Special Interest Articles

The Legend of the Kokopelli

Posted on May 20 2014 in Native American History
Kokopelli Watchband

One of the oldest mystical legends in Native American History. His image appears throughout the Southwest U.S., Mexico and South America. His music brings fertility and abundance to the tribes and to the land. His hump is a bundle of sacred objects and medicine he brings to heal us and open our hearts. Kokopelli plays his magic flute to remind us that magic is only a change in awareness.

Love is magic. His magic encourages us to drop any old limiting ideas and move forward.

Zuni Artist Effie Calavaza

Posted on May 20 2014 in Zuni
Effie Calavaza Zuni Artist

Effie Calavaza is a Native American jewelry artist from the Zuni Pueblo. She specializes in sand casting and incorporates stones and her snake designs into her pieces. In 1956 her husband, the late Juan Calavaza, taught her how to make jewelry. She incorporates both her husband’s and her own designs into her work. Her pieces are stamped EFFIE C. ZUNI. This is the family hallmark used by Effie and some of her daughters. Effie has had many imitators and even had to go to the Supreme Court to gain copyright protection of her work and design. Despite many rumors, Effie is still making jewelry to this day and her work is collected throughout the world.

Navajo Artist Calvin Begay

Posted on May 20 2014 in Navajo
Calvin Begay Navajo Artist

Calvin Begay is an award-winning Navajo artist, jeweler, designer and master craftsman. He was born in Gallup, New Mexico in 1965 and raised in Tohatchi, New Mexico. He designed his first piece of jewelry at the age of 10. He learned the art from his mother and uncle. He has won many awards for his work and his jewelry has been featured in Arizona Highways and Southwest Art magazines. Calvin has the ability to translate traditional Navajo inlay techniques with an elegant and contemporary flair. His stunning jewelry reflects his Native American heritage. His jewelry is prized by collectors in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The Native American Wedding Vase

Posted on May 19 2014 in Native American, Wedding Vase

The wedding vase is a treasured element of many Native American families. The two spouts represent the separate lives of the bride and groom, which are united at the top. The groom’s parents provide the wedding vase for use in the wedding ceremony. On the day of the wedding, the vase is filled with holy water, herb tea or wine and given to the bride. She drinks from one side and the groom drinks from the other. This ceremony is equivalent to the exchanging of wedding bands or the lighting of the unity candle.

Native American families consider the vase a treasure to display in their home and pass it from one generation to the next.

Margaret Gutierrez, a famous potter of Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico tells the story of a Traditional Indian Wedding Ceremony as follows:

“Usually a week or two before they are married, the groom’s parents make the Wedding Vase. When the Vase has been made, the groom along with his parents and all his relatives go to the bride’s house. The bride brings out everything she will need to establish their new home together: clothing, utensils, moccasins, corn and any other homemaking essentials including her white manta wedding dress.

The parents of both the bride and the groom give the young couple advice to help them have a happy and successful marriage. The Indian holy water is placed in the Wedding Vase and the Vase is turned around and given to the bride. She drinks from one side of the Vase turns it round again and gives it to the groom who then drinks from the opposite side of the Vase. This ceremony unites them as one.

The couple will treasure the Vase throughout their married life. Should one of them outlive the other, the remaining person will give the Vase to a couple known to be living happily married life. The Wedding Vase is protected and is never broken or destroyed”.

Rick Manuel Tohono O'Odham Artist

Posted on May 07 2014 in Tohono O'odham
Rick Manual Tohono O'Odham Artist

Rick was born in Sacaton, Arizona in 1950. He is registered with Gila River Pima through his mother and with the Tohono O’Odham through his father. He grew up on the Tohono O’Odham reservation in the Santa Rosa Village and is usually referred to as Tohono O’Odham. Rick is a self taught silversmith. He began experimenting with overlay in 1976 having honed his cutting skills by sawing out the bison and Indian head on coins. His first overlay pieces used desert scenes from the area around his village. Rick’s work draws upon the land, people and the traditions of the Tohono O’Odham. His creation bracelet draws inspiration from the maze motif found in basketry of the Tohono O’Odham. Overlay jewelry has become his trademark. Rick now gains inspiration for new designs from ants, horned lizards, plants, basket weavers, games the tribe plays, collection of the saguaro fruit and the traditions of the Tohono O’Odham. Rick has sold his work in Montana, Taos Pueblo and New York to the Museum of American Indian. Several people who have been apprentices of Rick’s now pursue careers as silversmiths.