Heard Museum to open exhibition showcasing young Native jewelers

PHOENIX-A special one-day showcase featuring up-and-coming and established artists will kick-off two new exhibitions at the Heard Museum-Young Jewelers and Old Traditions in New Pots: Silver Seed Pots from the Norman L. Sandfield Collection. The Silver Seed Pot and Jewelry Showcase and Book Signing on Nov. 17 will feature two new books, "Contemporary Southwestern Jewelry" and "Old Traditions in New Pots." The showcase gives patrons an opportunity to purchase works by rising Native talent and artists featured in these two dynamic shows.

The Silver Seed Pot and Jewelry Showcase and Book Signing features the debut of and opening celebration for Young Jewelers and Old Traditions in New Pots, a showcase of jewelry by artists featured in Young Jewelers by the Heard Museum Shop, a showcase of artists and their silver seed pots in the Central Courtyard, a signing of "Contemporary Southwestern Jewelry" with author and Curator Diana Pardue along with many exhibiting artists, and a signing of "Young Jewelers" with author and Head Curator Tricia Loscher along with many young artists. The showcase will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the book signing will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Young Jewelers space and the Shop is sure to come alive with the frenzy only great jewelry can inspire. Ranging in ages from 25 to 43, Pardue has chosen eight of the best in a new generation of jewelers; artists who work magic creating contemporary styles in silver, gold, diamond and other fine stones.

Jeweler Maria Samora (Taos) fashions two-toned pieces and frequently combines silver with gold. To achieve the rich look of 24K gold while retaining the durability of 18K gold, Samora uses an Incan technique to add the 24K gold finish, "I like the way a design lays on the body-how it looks and how it makes you feel. The purpose of my art is to accentuate the body and capture the movement of the human form," she stated.

Artist Liz Wallace (Navajo/Washoe/Maidu), 32, creates jewelry using plique á jour, an intricate enameling technique. She is the first American Indian jeweler to use this technique. Amazingly this young artist has only been making jewelry for 12 years. Wallace's experience is in contrast to the Gaussoin brothers, David and Wayne who both began making jewelry at age nine with their mother on a bench made from a pool table in their den.

These young artists have worked hard to earn name recognition at an early age. At 43, the oldest member of the group, Cody Sanderson (Navajo/Hopi/Pima/Nambe) describes his jewelry and metal work as "fun-visually digestible." His designs are bold. Deep repoussé lends dimension to a bracelet. Layers of spikes adorn a buckle. Sanderson reflects on his career as a jeweler, "It is a labor of love. You have to enjoy what you're doing." It is clear from this exceptional exhibition that these artists do more than enjoy their work, they excel at it. Each has developed an individual style and level of craftsmanship not usually seen so early in a career. These artists continue to grow and explore with out departing from their signature style.

Adding to the excitement of Young Jewelers, Old Traditions in New Pots: Silver Seed Pots from the Norman L. Sandfield Collection also opens Nov. 17. This exhibition of silver seed pots is the product of Sandfield's 28 years of collecting. Fascination will capture you as these miniature treasures caption your eye. Almost all of the pots in the exhibition have a diameter of 3 inches or less.

"Each silver miniature of the more than 240 in the Sandfield collection is in someway an essay on the life of a particular artists", comments Curator Tricia Loscher. The showcase on November 17 allows guests to meet with these artists in person.

The showcase and book signing are free with museum admission; $10 adults; $9 seniors (55+); $5 students; $4 children 6-12; free for children under six, Heard Museum members and American Indians. For additional information, call (602) 252-8848 or visit www.heard.org.

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