Wind River Jewelry Artist Bios: Q - Z
Amy was born in 1953 on the Zuni reservation. She began making jewelry in 1976 at the age of 23. Soon afterwards, Amy became very well-known for her hummingbird and Yei inlay designs and comes from a family of artists. Amy works with high quality sleeping beauty turquoise from Arizona and she is a multiple award-winning artist.
Alex Sanchez is of Navajo and Zuni heritage. He was born in Mexican Springs, NM, and loves there now with his wife and three daughters. Alex has been making jewelry for over ten years. He masterfully combines contemporary and traditional styles.
Alex works in heavy gauge sterling and 14K gold. He chooses his stones carefully and works them into his petroglyph patterns which are appliqued onto the heavy gauge sterling silver. Alex has developed a flair for unique combinations of design and color.
Octavius and Irma Seowtewa
Jewelers Octavius and Irma Seowtewa are from Zuni descent and collaborate on all of their needlepoint necklaces, bolo ties, bracelets, rings and earrings. (Octavius also works solo on nugget pieces and commissions, such as a recently finished watch bracelet depicting a train engine and caboose for a train conductor.)
Octavius creates the sterling-silver settings while Irma cuts and sets the stones (they use only natural stones – nothing stabilized or synthetic).
Kirk Smith comes from a well-known family of silversmiths and began working with silver as a youngster in the 1960s in his grandfather's workshop. Kirk developed into an acclaimed artist in his own right by consistently creating investment quality, "old pawn style" jewelry.
With heavy silver, detailed craftsmanship, and beautiful stones, Smith's pieces have won multiple awards throughout the years. Although he has changed his style over the years, Kirk has remained true to the traditional heavy silver work of the Navajo. Kirk usually set his jewelry with high-quality stones in vibrant colors with interesting natural matrix patterns.
Kirk was one of the best Navajo silversmiths in recent times. Sadly, Kirk Smith passed away unexpectedly in a tragic accident on September 17, 2012. He was only 55 years old and in his prime, both as a jeweler and as an individual. He will be deeply missed by family, friends, and Native American Indian jewelry collectors and traders everywhere.
Navajo silversmith Monica Smith creates stunning pieces using brushed sterling silver, most often in the form of squash blossoms and Navajo pearls.
Mary Ann Spencer
Mary Ann Spencer is a master Navajo silversmith. Hailing from Gallup, New Mexico, she began making jewelry at just 13 years old. Mary Ann had the fortune of being surrounded by many great artists while she was growing up - which inspired her to take a class in school.
Growing up on the Navajo reservation, Mary Ann learned to take traditional designs and integrate them with new and more modern styles. Her work is always unique and recognizable, and each piece is hand-stamped on the back with her hallmark "M. Spencer".
Clayton Tom was born in Denver, Colorado in 1970 and he was raised on the Navajo reservation in Tse-Yah-Toh, New Mexico. He graduated from Gallup High School and now lives with his family a few miles south of Gallup.
Clayton’s award winning work includes concho belts, Bolo Ties, necklaces, and ranger belt buckle sets - but his personal favorite and most beloved is the cosmic bear design. Clayton is famous for incorporating traditional Navajo symbols into contemporary and stunning works of art.
Herman Vandever was born in Prewitt, New Mexico in 1964. He has been handcrafting beautiful jewelry for over two decades. Herman comes from an extensive family of talented Navajo Artists.
His jewelry is characterized by its sturdy, high quality sterling silver, three-dimensional designs, and stones with silver overlay. His unparalleled skills in saw and file work are evident in each custom-made piece. Herman seamlessly combines traditional Navajo styles with elegant, contemporary design in each of his remarkable pieces.