Collection of Significant Navajo and Pueblo Jewelry Arrives at Albuquerque Museum of Art and History

If you know Albuquerque artist Eason Eige, you know that when it comes to Native American art and jewelry, his eye is as good as any of the experts in the field.

For four decades, Eige has been collecting the finest examples of Navajo and Pueblo silver and lapidary work.  Every time I run into him at Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza, I inevitably drool over the fantastic jewelry that he wears on a regular basis–whether it’s a 1940s green turquoise cuff or a Cody Sanderson contemporary piece

Now, Eige, has graciously donated his collection of 301 important pieces to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History to use in its long-term and changing exhibits, as well as research and scholarly study.  The pieces will help the museum “better interpret the cultural and artistic history of the Southwest.”

Eige’s collection contains wonderful pieces from living and passed Navajo, Zuni and Kewa (Santo Domingo) artisans.  Much of the jewelry was purchased directly from the living artists and commissioned expressly for this exhibit, which opens on Sunday, June 27 and remains on view to the public through October 2010.

The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is located at 2000 Mountain Road N.W..  For more information about schedules and admission visit www.cabq.gov/museum or call 505-243-7255.

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Marcus Wall: Chained to the Future/Unchained from the Past

It could be argued that Jemez Pueblo potter Marcus Wall comes from one of the most talented families working in Native American arts today.  The son of Fannie Loretto (Jemez/Laguna) and Stephen Wall (Chippewa/Seneca), the stepson of Laura Fragua-Cota, and the brother of Kathleen Wall and Adrian Wall, creating pottery comes as no surprise to him. After all, he learned pottery from his mother, and his sister taught him most of what he knows about style and technique. With all these mentors helping to shape a young potter, it’s no wonder that Marcus wants to find his own niche and make a name for himself apart from a family full of already super-successful artists.While Marcus, who has been making pottery since his single digit years, started with smaller pieces such as figurines and koshares, he is taking his work to a whole new level that commercially is beginning to serve him very well. 
Enter the micaceous wedding vase.  Traditionally a symbol of engagement and formal marriage, Wall has turned that symbol into what his sister Kathleen refers to as a “mutual understanding vase.”  This vase can function as a symbol of commitment for anyone in any kind of connected relationship, whether it be legal marriage or otherwise.  
His work is as delicate and beautiful as pottery found in the Taos tradition.  The artist says that he finds the clay and the work very masculine, but clearly he brings a warmth and thoughtfulness that makes the pieces appealing to all collectors.  Marcus, who learned how to work with micaceous clay from Kathleen, has added hand-crafted clay chain links to the vases, which give them a unique look that ineveitably sparks conversation about their meaning.
At the 2010 Native Treasures show in Santa Fe, Marcus took the time to chat about his work that is gaining him status as one of the up-and-coming new artists on the Native American pottery scene.  Check out my interview with him HERE:

Diné Penny: The Other Singer of Fashion

If I had to pick one word to describe Diné (Navajo) fashion designer Penny Singer, it would be “unique.” She has a one-of-a-kind personality mixed with one-of-a-kind fashion sense.   She effectively balances motherhood with work and creates fashion that is both beautiful and functional.  In the last ten years, she has solidly established herself in the Native American art market and is a familiar face at all of the top shows.  Her peers love her and she is a favorite in the Native art scene in Santa Fe.  Did I mention that her laugh is infectious?

Singer is a master craftsperson with fabric and a thread and needle.  She takes the basics of sewing and elevates them to fine art of the highest quality.

I ran into Penny at the 2010 Native Treasures show and finally managed to coax her to go on camera.  She’s a natural at talking about her work. What did she have to say?  Find out HERE!