Stanford and Diane Cooche
Stanford and Diane Cooche
1980 to Present
Fine channel inlay
FIRST YEAR MAKING ART:
Thanks for taking time to chat with us, Stanford and Diane Cooche. When did you start making jewelry?
I started at a young age. Originally I made shadowbox rings and did some fetish carving. It wasn’t until in the early 80's that I began the style I do today, channel inlay.
What made you start this style?
My father, Celestine Cooche was doing this work and it was during the jewelry boom of the 80's, and he couldn’t fill orders. I was in my early twenties.
The Knifewing piece that you brought in today, that is something very different than we have seen from you...
That was my father’s work. He left some unfinished pieces and I finally decided to complete them.
How long ago was this piece started?
It was probably started over 30 years ago. This is the third piece that I have finished.
Will you continue to do this traditional style?
My father was a Zuni Forest Fire Fighter and their mascot was the Knifewing, that is why my dad started doing this style. I will continue to do this work.
Diane do you come from a family of artists?
Yes, my maternal grandmother, Rose Haloo was the first Zuni to do snake eye pieces. My uncle is Pete Haloo who still makes this style. My parents did silver and gold work. My father and Stanford’s father where both Zuni fire fighters and good friends.
Stanford did you ever fight forest fires?
No, when I was growing up more Zuni kids worked making jewelry than fighting fires because of the boom.
Did your dad or you ever hire extra people to fill orders?
No, we have always concentrated on quality. During the boom people were putting out anything and a lot of it was sloppy. We didn’t worry about the orders we lost. After the boom settled that really helped us because we kept all of our dealers.
Do you do jewelry full-time?
We do it as part-time. I work for the Zuni Tribe and Diane has a year left before she completes her nursing degree.
Where do you sell most of your work?
We have been fortunate enough to always have orders for our work and that allows us to trade with the same few dealers we have always sold to.
Do you travel for these dealers?
No, all of them are here except for one.
Where is this dealer?
We received a phone call from a J. Adams who was looking for my father and I was the only Cooche in the phonebook. He owned a buckle made by my dad and wanted to learn more about the piece.
Did he have a Native American art store?
No, he makes luxury travel buses for musicians. He would order pieces from us and give them away to his clients. Once he came through Gallup and we met up with him and he showed us one of the buses he was delivering to Clint Black in Las Vegas. That is when we knew he was for real. He showed us the inside cover of the “Put Yourself in My Shoes” album where Dick Gay the drummer was wearing an ivory ranger buckle that we had made.
Who else did he give your work too?
I know that ZZ Top has our work and other artists that he dealt with.
That is pretty exciting, thanks for taking the time to visit.