Author Archives: shiprock002

A Frank Dishta Masterpiece


This cuff is a fantastic example of Frank Dishta’s work, c. 1950. Dishta, born in 1902, was an active jeweler between 1925-1954. He worked primarily in channel inlay and made jewelry for sale at the original Zuni Pueblo Trading Post owned by famed trader C. G. Wallace. Along with his contemporaries, artists such as Leekya Deyuse and Leo Poblano, Dishta developed a unique style, which remains associated with his name. His designs, comprised of many small individually set rounded turquoise pieces, are iconic and highly sought after. This bracelet features over 200 individual teardrop shaped stone settings surrounding large oval cabochons of natural American turquoise set in handmade bezels. This bracelet is an extremely rare example of an important Native American silversmith, and would be a significant contribution to a collection.

His legacy continues with the work of his son and grandsons.



Exquisite New Jewelry by Jennifer Curtis

We are pleased to announce an incredible new collection by Navajo artist Jennifer Curtis,  launching at our annual Holiday Reception on Friday, December 26th, from 5-7 p.m.

In addition, she will be demonstrating silversmithing and stamping techniques here at the gallery on Saturday, December 27, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Curtis will use a type of repousse technique to create a concho design, most often recognized in concho belts. The simplest form can be worn as an individual belt buckle.

“We are very proud to offer an opportunity to purchase a custom piece stamped by Jennifer Curtis at the Saturday event,” says gallery director Jamie Way. “Jennifer’s jewelry is based on traditional designs, with a twist. She uses the earliest methods of stamping, but she and her father have come up with their own tools and handmade stamps. So where you might normally see an ellipse and a triangle, Jennifer shows a row of dots, resulting in a modernist clean finish. She is an expert, and her work is seamless. Her work is the perfect blend of tradition and innovation.”

Born and raised on the Navajo reservation near Winslow, Arizona, Curtis learned to work metal from her father, Thomas Curtis, Sr., himself an award-winning silversmith. Today, she lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is the most respected Navajo female silversmith working in a traditional style. “My work is an extension of my history, my family,” she says. “My biggest influence is my master, my teacher, my father. His recent passing has brought special meaning to each swing of the hammer, each design I create. My family is the center of my existence; I make work that is balanced and proportionate always with a physical center that mirrors the spiritual.

Curtis also cites among her influences noted Navajo jeweler Raymond Yazzie and Hopi artist Sonwai. Sonwai is also represented by Shiprock Santa Fe. “I live not far from here, in Albuquerque, though the reservation and my parent’s house is my true home. I am thrilled to be spending the Christmas Holiday in magical Santa Fe,” Curtis says.

jennifercurtisAlso on view at the gallery will be a show of pre-1950 Native American textiles, “Unnamed Weavers of the Trading Post Era.” Shiprock Santa Fe honors the community of weavers, primarily Navajo and primarily women, whose marvelous work decorates the gallery for the holiday season.  Shiprock’s Holiday Reception welcomes the Santa Fe community to view the work of these artists whose names are not known but whose works we recognize for their artistry and intricacy.  On exhibit through January 15, 2015.


Important Early Collection by Charles Loloma

This group of work comes from an important collection representing one of Loloma’s most productive and creative periods. Made in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s, these pieces mirror the exuberance of the time while drawing inspiration from ancestral jewelry. Combining hand-drilled turquoise, shell and stone beads with classic fabrication and casting techniques, they are emblematic of the innovation that made Loloma one of the most respected and sought after artists of the twentieth century.

loloma earringloloma pendant

loloma shell necklaceloloma cufflinks