In the heart of New Mexico where tradition and innovation intertwine, there exists a world of artistry that's as vibrant as the colors of the desert landscape.
With a tapestry of traditions, techniques, and inspirations, these artists are more than just skilled hands; they're the guardians of cultural heritage, the keepers of a rich artistic tradition, and the architects of your most treasured adornments. To put it simply- they’re the whole reason our jewelry collection is as coveted as a winning hand in poker.
We're more than just connoisseurs of Turquoise; we're aficionados of authentic, handmade art. These folks are the cowgirls and cowboys of creativity, the legends of lapidary, and they've poured their hearts into each piece with more passion than a Texan two-steppin' on a Saturday night.
Time to tip your hat to the artists who bring to life all the amazing jewelry you’ll find at Turquoise Tuesday.
PS: This isn’t the lot of them by any means, but these are some notable stars of the show:
Born in the 1950s in the heart of Haystack, New Mexico, Emerson's artistic talent runs deep in his veins, a trait shared with his talented brothers. At 60+ years young, Emerson's artistic journey started when he was just 20 in the vibrant setting of a jewelry shop nestled within the Navajo Reservation in Smith Lake.Emerson learned by observing the techniques of skilled silversmiths and became a self-taught artist. Emerson's journey was fueled by a love for tradition and a knack for resourcefulness. To obtain his tools, he scoured flea markets and pawn shops, never buying new ones. He has an affection for the well-worn tools, each bearing a story of its own.The thing about Emerson is that he's not just about crafting silver; he's about spreading the joy of art. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and wisdom with fellow silversmiths, offering valuable advice and helping them on their creative journeys.When it comes to his art though, it's nothing short of extraordinary. Emerson's work stands out with its uniqueness, rooted in tradition, and known for its impeccable precision. His distinctive stamp work and the flawless finish on each piece are testaments to his dedication and passion. If you were to picture his creations, they'd fit right in a Santa Fe gallery, captivating the hearts of those who appreciate true craftsmanship.Emerson's art isn't just a hobby; it's his livelihood. Creating stunning jewelry is his full-time occupation, and he pours his heart and soul into each piece.Beyond the world of silversmithing, Emerson finds joy in the great outdoors. Hiking is his second passion, and he’ll never say no to a good ol’-fashioned game of bingo.
Mike Smith & Loretta Smith
Mike and Loretta's journey in jewelry-making spans over four decades. Loretta's artistic story began in her teenage years, learning the delicate art of silversmithing side by side with her renowned Navajo silversmith father, the legendary Wilbert Smith. Meanwhile, Mike embarked on his creative path, guided by the skilled hands of his cousin.
Their joint artistic voyage has blossomed into a rich tapestry of talent. When they're not crafting intricate pieces of jewelry, you’ll find them caring for their beloved grandchildren. And whenever Mike is in the studio, expect him to be ripping those old school tunes like no other!
Gregg Yazzie carries the proud legacy of a generations-old lineage of silversmiths. His life has revolved around the world of jewelry since he can remember. His journey started with polishing jewelry, but his passion and dedication quickly led him to the artisan's workbench as a silversmith.
Gregg possesses a profound insight into the art of jewelry-making, appreciating every facet of crafting handmade pieces. His distinctive stamp work and unwavering precision in creating each masterpiece have earned him a well-deserved reputation as a true artist.
Beyond the artistry, Gregg finds joy in spending cherished moments with his beloved wife and children, nurturing the same warmth and care he puts into every piece he creates.
Jimson Belin of Little Water, New Mexico, has artistic roots that run deep, stemming from his uncle, the venerable Richard Belin. Richard, a masterful silversmith, possessed not only remarkable talent but a deep-seated passion for passing on his knowledge to his children and his nieces and nephews, including Jimson.
Jimson, undoubtedly, stands among the most exceptional artists of his day. His artistic prowess and creative eye are unparalleled. What sets Jimson apart is his dedication to the craft, as he meticulously handcrafts all of his stamps, turning this process into an art form in itself.
Harry Melikan, a renowned Zuni artist celebrated for his exceptional needlepoint creations, has been a jewelry-making virtuoso since his boyhood days. Beyond his artistic talents, Harry is a true rockstar in every sense. He, along with his sons and grandkids, rocks the stage with their love for music, sharing melodies and moments that resonate with their passion.
Harry keeps everyone in stitches with his witty jokes and tales about "the aunties." His zest for life and humor infuse his creations and interactions with a contagious spirit that's as uplifting as his art.
Needless to say, Harry is a hoot!
Bucky Belin, a silversmith extraordinaire, carries a legacy as the son of Richard Belin. His journey in the art of silversmithing was lovingly shaped by his parents, who instilled in him the wisdom and craftsmanship of the trade. Bucky's art pays tribute to his father's legacy, aiming to craft works that would make his Dad proud.
In the studio, Bucky is a versatile talent, wielding skills in silversmithing, stone setting, beadwork, jewelry polishing, and inlay work. His creative journey ignited when he was in his late teens, initially assisting his mother in crafting rings.
Bucky's dedication to jewelry-making isn't just a passion; it's his sole source of livelihood. He recognizes the profound cultural importance of preserving Native American style jewelry, crafted by Native American hands. Bucky's work is a testament to his unwavering commitment, as he pours his heart into each design and creation, ensuring that the legacy of Native American jewelry thrives and evolves. His passion shines through in every piece he brings to life.
Loretta Delgarito is an extraordinary artist, a true gem in the creative world. Her artistic journey started in the 1970s when she was just 14 years old, demonstrating a precocious talent and passion for jewelry-making. Loretta's early education in the art of silversmithing was a gift from her cousin, who would whisk her away from school to craft jewelry until the late hours, shaping her youthful enthusiasm into a lifelong love.
These days, Loretta crafts her masterpieces from the comfort of her own home, which allows her to savor the precious moments of watching her grandkids grow. Her son, Fernando, has taken up the art form as well, following in his mother's footsteps and blossoming into an incredible artist himself. Turquoise holds a special place in Loretta's heart, reminding her of her grandmother. She's renowned for her creations that bring in the warmth of tradition with a contemporary twist.
Her cluster jewelry speaks volumes about the importance of family. The central stone symbolizes the grandparents, while the stones surrounding it represent the children and grandchildren, creating an artistic tribute to the bonds of kinship. When she's not crafting beautiful jewelry, Loretta enjoys quality time with her son, Fernando, playing bingo, and visiting her beloved grandchildren.
Loretta's talent has left its mark all over Albuquerque, where she has worked as a top silversmith for various ventures.
These are just a handful of the talented peeps who pour their heart and soul into transforming raw, uncut treasure into meticulously crafted pieces of Turquoise ready to be expertly inlaid. Every stone that graces Turquoise Tuesday is hand-cut, and it's these dedicated artists who breathe life into every exquisite piece.