Collecting Jewelry: Conversation with the Curator
Conversations with Michael Roanhorse, Jennifer Curtis and Allen Aragon
Michael Roanhorse is from the Navajo Reservation on the Chuska Mountains in Crystal, New Mexico. Michael learned the basics of silversmithing from his father and researched techniques to further his own expertise. Michael’s goal is to push the envelope of contemporary art in silver, metal, and sculpture, using the oral history of his people to influence his creative process and gives him ideas for each piece. Michael also strives to evolve his style to help create a new and modern field in contemporary art.
Born in Keams Canyon, Arizona, in 1964 and raised on a remote area of the Navajo reservation, Jennifer Curtis, the daughter of famed silversmith Thomas Curtis, began playing around in her father’s studio at the age of eight. Today, she is honored to carry on his exquisite approach to jewelry-making, and she continues to reference her father’s work, noting him as her biggest inspiration. “All of the elements I work with come from Mother Earth.” She references this connection to living on the reservation, “where we learned about life.” The graceful tenacity of her work reflects her personal fortitude, illuminating the wearer with a reminder of their own unique courage and inner power.
Acclaimed Navajo artist Allen Aragon creates miniature pottery and jewelry that is highly celebrated by collectors of Native American art throughout the United States and beyond. Allen’s miniature pots are created in the traditional ways, but he has developed his own style, combining ideas from Navajo, Hopi, and Acoma artforms. To create his unique jewelry, Allen paints intricate abstract and animal images on pieces of pottery. He then fires them and sets each one in sterling silver to create beautiful pendants, earrings, rings, bolo ties and concho belts. Born in Ganado, Arizona, Allen was raised on a ranch near Chaco Canyon.
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