Finds from the Autry Museum 2019 Indian Arts Market

The Army has kept me so busy as of late, and I haven’t been able to keep up with Turquoise People as I would like. I just wanted to share my finds from the Indian Market at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, CA. I wasn’t able to attend in person, so I made my mom go in my place, and I made her FaceTime me everywhere she went! :joy:

This was my first time shopping directly from the artists (well, sort of…) and I must say that it’s a much different experience that shopping for second-hand vintage. All of the artists were very kind and understanding, and were especially patient with my mom and I as we video-chatted.

The first piece of jewelry that stood out to me were these heishe earrings from Santo Domingo artists, Mary and Gerard Calabaza. The Calabaza’s are some of the few artists who still hand-roll their heishe. Rolling out heishe is a lengthy and time consuming process, so lots of artists will opt to use heishe imported from the Philippines.

Tucked in between the turquoise heishe, you can see two copper disc beads. These beads are stamped with the Calabaza’s hallmark. Here is a picture of Mary at her table:

The next piece is one that caught my mom’s eye, and she made sure to snatch it up on my behalf. It’s a tufa cast naja by Ronnie Henry.

The naja features Ithaca Peak turquoise, and 14k gold starbursts. Ronnie said that he has only ever made 2 najas with gold in them. The first piece (which was identical to this one) was originally just supposed to be a silver naja. He felt that it needed a little something more, and so he added the 14k drops. He loved the design so much, he decided to keep it, and made another one just for the show! You can see him wearing the matching naja in this picture:

As my mom was walking through the showroom floor, she spotted these lil guys. Two frog fetishes carved from Kingman turquoise by Georgette Quam and Reynold Lunasee! I thought these guys were reasonably priced at $25 each:

She had lots of wonderfully carved little critters on her table

This next one is a real showstopper- a hair ornament with sleeping beauty turquoise, and it’s HUUUGE. It was made by Navajo silversmith, Erecka Lee. I would rather not tell you what we paid for this one :speak_no_evil:

And I saved the best for last. My mom sent me a picture of a list of artist-vendors who were selling at the Indian Market. I noticed that Lyndon Tsosie was on the list, an artist whom I both admire and respect. I told my mom that It would be beneficial for her to swing by his table just to look at his work (Lyndon has won many awards and is known for his stamp work on heavy gauge silver). Lyndon was especially kind and patient while my mom FaceTimed me to show me all of his amazing pieces. Long story short- we ended up walking away with one of Lyndon’s pieces. It’s Indian Mountain turquoise on thick silver, and it’s super heavy.

The shank of my ring, with his hallmark pictured:

Lyndon at his table, holding my ring- along with some other gems he had for sale:

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Looks like good taste runs in the family! Nice haul!

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Thanks! My mom has a good eye, she kept picking up the most expensive pieces I couldn’t afford lol…

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Great idea and wonderful finds! I’d like to go to one of the big shows.

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This is amazing! I’m happy for you, but a little jealous, I must admit.

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These are some outstanding pieces, I would be overwhelmed at this show…to meet the artists would be an honor!

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@Islandmomma it was such a different experience for me!! And everyone was so kind, and I feel like I learned so much!!

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@harmonart :joy: the bad news is I’m broke for the next few months now

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@Dana I have to admit, I was a little embarrassed that my mom kept taking pictures of the artists with the jewelry, but I’m so glad she did! I think my parents really enjoyed getting to chat with Lyndon Tsosie. He has some great jewelry and great stories to tell

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I just bought a giant Erecka Lee cluster ring.

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@AC looks like we’re twins! I had never heard of Erecka before buying my hair or ornament, what about you?

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@Bigbree43 Does yours have the same hallmark?

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They’re very similar Jeff!

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Yes, That’s her!! Her Name is misspelled in the Barton Wright book. I have to change that on my post.

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You should send them an email! I even took her business card- she was insistent that we contact her if anything ever broke or became damaged on my hairpiece

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This was such a great post! Thank you for sharing. Is this an annual event? I’d love to go to something like this and meet and directly support the artists. You got some great pieces, would love to see you wearing the hairpiece!

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This event brought back fond memories for me.
In the mid 1980’s we made a monthly trip to Gallup NM. Always stopped at the flea market there.
There were many tables of new and vintage jewelry. The artists would often be working on more pieces at their tables.

At the time, we did not have much money, so purchases were limited.
I was often in awe at the beautiful jewelry, as I had always loved Turquoise. We were able to spend time talking with the artists and dealers. Most usually had an interpreter with them, if they did not speak Anglo.

I often wonder who we spoke with, as I do not remember any of the names.

Thank you for posting this.

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oh heavens @Bigbree43 … Thank you for posting such wonderful finds! To actually see the artists and their work is such a special treat! The sweet tiny frogs made my day! :wink: and that Naja by Ronnie Henry, Mom has great taste…

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@Scdub I do believe it is an annual event, held at the Gene Autry Museum of the American West! Here’s a link from the Autry’s website

https://theautry.org/events/signature-programs/american-indian-arts-marketplace/marketplace-program

And my mom promised Erecka Lee that I would email her a photo with me wearing the hairpiece!!

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@fernwood thanks for taking the time to read my post! Only a few artists were making jewelry at their tables, probably because they were too busy selling though!

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