1998 to Present
Modern pueble style, lots of petroglyph imagery
FIRST YEAR MAKING ART:
Did you grow up in Tohatchi?
Mexican Springs. I went to school in Tohatchi.
What year did you graduate?
I graduated in 1988.
You were State Champion in wrestling, what weight did you wrestle at?
I won at 167. When I was a junior I took third in State.
Did you play any other sports?
Football. We had some good teams, the best was my junior year.
What teams were in your District?
We played against Crownpoint, Shiprock, Zuni, Wingate, Kirkland, Aztec, Bloomfield, and Tohatchi. We were a class 3 school.
What position(s) did you play, and were you as good at football as wrestling?
I was an offensive guard and linebacker. I was All-State at guard and the Gallup Independent gave me the Defensive Player of the Year for the area.
An all-state offensive guard at 167lbs?
I would get my weight up for football. I played at 220lbs. That would all come off during wrestling. Just thought I needed to be bigger for football
So, you graduate from Tohatchi. What did you do next?
I went to Ft. Lewis College in Durango. I went there to become a Physical Therapist.
Did you finish school?
I went for a year and just got in with that wrong crowd.
How long did that last, hanging with the wrong crowd?
About 6 years (laughs).
So, you started making jewelry in the mid 1990s?
After my year at Fort Lewis I came back home and my brother taught me how to make jewelry. I was working with copper and brass.
Did you go out on your own after he taught you?
No, I went to work for Stewart Yellowhorse, Yellowhorse LTD. This was in the mid 1990s. I worked for him as an hourly worker in his shop, doing stamp work on belts and buttons. Still was not doing any soldering or buffing. Around 1998 I decided to go out on my own.
Did you regret not finishing school and doing jewelry full-time?
No, I love making jewelry.
What kind of stuff are you making?
Simple stuff, stamped bracelets and earrings.
Are you making any money doing jewelry?
In 1999 I did a show, Fountain Hills Market, in Arizona and made a profit of $1800. I was like, wow. After that my mom would find shows and send in applications for me.
So you got the bug for shows after doing so well at the first one, how many shows are you doing in a year at this time?
Probably around 15 a year. Now I do around 6 shows a year because I have more collectors and galleries contacting me. .
When did you start doing this Petroglyph style silver art?
About 8 years ago.
Was it just something you came up with?
I had the idea, but it took me a long time to perfect. The symbols kept sinking into the texture. It was lots of trial and error.
So, you made your first piece. What was the response?
It was a pendant. I forget who I sold it to, but the response was good. Just seemed like I would get more and more request for those style pieces. It is now my main style.
I remember you had a silver purse for the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Market, did that win a ribbon?
I didn’t get there in time.
Do you try to enter your pieces for judging?
Yes. The first time I made something for competition was 2005, the Inter-Tribal Ceremonial. I won first place for a pair of earrings, I call them Grandmother. Also, in 2008 I won Best of Class at the Navajo Nation Fair for a belt that had the petroglyph symbols.
How about the Heard or Indian Market?
I am to afraid to enter those shows. Those are big names that enter Market & Heard. Even in my booth I am always in awe of the artists that I am next to.
What is next for you?
Just keep making jewelry.
How about the price of materials, is that going to come back down?
I don’t think so, those prices are going to be the new norm.