Monday, November 19, 2012

The Harmonious Way

November is Native American Heritage Month...celebrate by honoring our country's extraordinary Native American artists!
Who: Darryl Dean and Rebecca Tonabah Begay
What: Handcrafted Jewelry
Where: Gallup, NM
Why: I was lucky enough to have parents that introduced us to all sorts of world cultures early on, including those indigenous to the US. We've attended powwows and volunteered with the tribes, and have always been fascinated by the supertalented artists and their designs, materials and methods.
Tufa casting is one of those methods, used for ages by Navajo metalsmiths. A form of compressed volcanic ash, tufa is used to carve molds into which molten metal is poured...the resulting castings are finely detailed and retain a wonderfully pebbly texture that adds to the character of a piece. The molds cannot be reused so each piece is genuinely one-of-a-kind. The Begays use the tufa method and you can watch Darryl explain a bit of the process here...I love watching a jeweler do a casting so I've watched it more than a few times!
Darryl and Rebecca's gorgeous jewels, inlaid with a variety of rare and unusual gems including Bisbee, Morenci and Lone Mountain Turquoise, are unlike any other I've seen and they are among my favorites. The couple has a deep spiritual spirit that just radiates throughout their work. Go see it if you can, pick it up, run your fingers over those stones and that pebbly texture and you'll feel that spirit too!



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