Calvin Martinez

Perry Null Trading:

When did you first begin making jewelry?

Calvin Martinez:

I started in 1970 when I was 14 years old. My family made jewelry so that is where I got my start. In the beginning I did lots of cast work.

Perry Null Trading:

Today do you still use those same techniques?

Calvin Martinez:

Yes, it is like I make my jewelry from scratch. Instead of buying sheet silver I will buy scrap silver and melt that down and then use my roller to get the desired thickness. My jewelry is all handmade from start to finish.

Perry Null Trading:

You do most of your work in the traditional style, is their a reason for this?

Calvin Martinez:

That is the style I like. When I go to the shops in town I always look at the pawn jewelry to get ideas. I also get lots of orders from elder Navajo people, and they always want the jewelry heavy and in the traditional style.

Perry Null Trading:

When did your work start to get recognized by collectors?

Calvin Martinez:

In 1983 I did a show in Kansas City where a woman came to my booth. She was wearing a bracelet that I liked and recognized. I asked her if I could see it, and it was a piece I had made. I told her and she was very happy to meet me. At that time I realized that my style was one people liked and buying.

Perry Null Trading:

Who are some of the artist you had an influence on?

Calvin Martinez:

I taught my brothers Terry & Rick, and also my brother in-law Ernest Begay. I have also worked with non-indian artist, teaching a person from North Carolina and another from San Antonio, Texas.

Perry Null Trading:

You can not find your work at many of the trading post in Gallup, why?

Calvin Martinez:

I will only sell my work to people I know. Buyers that appreciate the work and the ones I can talk about jewelry with, many buyers do not know good jewelry and are always trying to beat down your price.

Perry Null Trading:

Do you know where some of your best pieces have gone to?

Calvin Martinez:

I have a collector who contacts me for piece work. He has over 200 of my pieces, some work I have never duplicated. In the home he has it in a showcase, and some of them have very collectable pieces of turquoise. It would be nice to have some of those back.



Available art from: Martinez, Calvin