Art means different things to different people, something I find ugly someone else finds beautiful. I always think of art shows as defeating the purpose of art, how could you pick one piece of art superior to another artistic creation. However, it is what we do, pick our favorites and defend them.
So, lets talk traditional Navajo jewelry, don’t want to put Kachina Dolls against bracelets, just doesn’t make sense.
Who makes the best traditional Navajo jewelry, someone who is active.
My pick, Calvin Martinez. This Navajo silversmith can make some not so exciting pieces, but when he is filled with creativity he makes pieces of art.
Darryl Becenti is my current favorite. I have a silver necklace he made, no stones, and it has become an everyday piece and each time I put it on, I feel wonderful. You know you open the lid on the box and the beauty of the piece just takes your breath away.
I also love Ernest R. Begay’s work, the thickness of the silver and the elegance of the design. My mother has a concho belt he made that is outstanding.
Earl Plummer is amazing! We were at Garlands store in Oak Creek Canyon (AZ) on friday and he came into the store with two necklaces. Both necklaces were stunning, intricate and very heavy. Even the large clasp on the squash blossom necklace was inlaid with perfectly cut and set Morenci turquoise. You would want to wear that necklace with your hair up. On the other necklace the silver work is so graceful, with a light sweeping design, yet the necklace had such weight to it. When I tried it on it was as if I put something magical around my neck. Mr. Plummer was kind enough to talk to us about his work, he is a very modest and charming man as well as an extremely talented artist. Meeting him was the highlight of our quick trip to Flagstaff.
Calvin Martinez has become one of my most sought after artists within the last year. I am fortunate enough to own two pieces by him. The attention to detail is incredible, and the pieces are extremey heavy. I will always buy one of his pieces when I can afford it.