Sunday, July 30, 2006

Final Days of Alice Cling and Calvin Begay Sale

August 1st is the last day of our 25% off sale on Calvin Begay Navajo jewelry and Alice Cling pottery (see inset).

Just visit our Pueblo Pottery website and select the Alice Cling, Michelle Williams, Susie Crank or Sue Williams pot you want to purchase and email us or send us the order form witht he appropriate information. Be sure to include the code, "AC25%" in your order. We will respond by email with the discounted price and shipping charge, and work out payment from there.

To purchase a piece of Calvin Begay's beautiful jewelry, visit his pages at our Native American Indian jewelry web site and navigate to oneo his pages. We have Calvin's bracelets, earrings, necklaces, pendants and pin/pendants. All are 25% off if you enter the code, "CB25%" on your order. Our email response will tell you what your cost is after the discount and estimate shipping charges.

Please note that the prices shown on the web site are NOT the prices you will pay during this sale. To determine that for yourself, just deduct 25% of the listed price.

We encourage you to act now. This sale ends in two days. We look forward to hearing from you.

Recent Native American Art Auctions

A recent auction generated some impressive Native Americana sales.

Skinner, a Boston auction house, dropped the hammer on a Cheyenne cradle board from the quarter of the 19th Century for $88,125. A Southern Plains Cheyenne beaded woman's dress of hide dating to the third quarter of the 19th Century sold for $47,000. A mid-19th Century war axe from the Plains Prairie Missouri people realized $44,650. An Apache basket done in polychrome pictorial techniqque with an estimated age of about 100 years (ca 1900) went for $37,600. A polychrome carved wood mask from the Kwakiutl of the Pacific Northwest received a winning bid of $28,200. The auction was held in May, 2006.

We will try to offer more news about auction results in tribal art in future editions of Tribal Artery. Stay tuned by visiting regularly.

On Authenticity, Antiquity and Aesthetics

The most recent edition of African Arts magazine, published by the James S. Coleman African Studies Center, UCLA International Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Lorenz Homberger and Christine Steizig comment on an exhibition – With the Eyes of an Aesthete: Art from Gabon – at the Volkerkundemuseum der Josefine und Eduard von Portheim-Stiffung in Heidelberg, Germany. They wrote, “…many of the objects shown in Heidelberg are contemporary reproductions and therefore highly problematic to the trained eye. However, a visitor or reader unencumbered by such prior knowledge cannot recognize this.”

The article, which I encourage you to read, goes on to complain that the presence of reproductions constitutes a threat to the field of African art, particularly when presented in art museums, where they might be construed as “authentic antique originals” or, at least, take on the halo of legitimacy from their association with a museum.

Whenever this subject arises, as it does often in at least one African Art discussion group on the internet, I always wonder if there is no place in the world of African art for extraordinarily produced carvings that are less than 50 years old; must the field be limited only to art that can be proven to be antique and “original”?

And what about the proof? Provenance is required to establish the ownership trail back to its original source. Yet, provenances are only pieces of paper and they can be as authentic or false as the persons who present them.

But, in the matter of aesthetics, does it matter if a carving or mask has no provenance but represents an outstanding example of a genre and a true pleasure to eye? Is such an item a “fake”, a favorite term of the “cogniscenti” when referring to such pieces, if they are not presented as antique or valued at the level of pieces proven to have been collected in the 1800s.

Is it not possible to treasure and love and take great pleasure from such pieces regardless of the “authenticity” placed on them by third parties, who frequently have their own egocentric or economic interests in similar pieces.

This is not presented as a defense of “fakes” when they are presented as something they are not. If, however, they are presented fairly, accurately as to provenance and age, and with a money-back return privilege, it seems to me to be reasonable to have and support a market in such items – at prices that are appropriate for the quality, authenticity and age of the item. And art museums would seem to be an acceptable venue for exhibiting them.

What do you think?

Tribal Artery is the periodic blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, a tribal art dealer with web sites at for African, Australian, Navajo folk art and Arctic art; for Native American jewelry; for Native American pottery and for animal fetish carvings from Zuni, Cochiti, Navajo and San Felipe. Thank you for your attention and interest.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Scroll down for savings

If you are here to read about the 25% savings during our sale of Navajo pottery and Calvin Begay Navajo jewelry, please scroll down to a previous blog posting. Thank you.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Events at Indian Market 2006

The latest from the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWIA) includes a schedule of activities for the two-day Santa Fe Indian Market. All of these activities will take place at the gazebo in the Santa Fe Plaza:

Saturday, 8/19

7 AM --- Official Opening Ceremony

9 AM --- HawkQuest - Educational session about birds of prey

12 Noon --- Honoring Ceremony

12:30 PM --- HawkQuest program repeated

1:40 - 2:10 PM --- Radmilla Cody (Navajo), a Canyon Records recording artist performs

2:30 - 2:50 PM --- Bill Miller (Mohican) trio, two-time Grammy Award winner performs

3:10 - 3:50 PM --- Spirit Wind Pueblo Singers perform with dancers

3:30 - 4:00 PM --- Jemez Senior Singing Group performs

Sunday, 8/20

9 AM --- Native American Clothing Contest

12 Noon --- HawkQuest program repeated

1:40 - 2:10 PM --- Ananeah (Inter-tribal) fusion group performs

2:30 - 2:50 PM --- Shelly Morningsong (Northern Cheyenne) performs

3:10 - 3:30 PM --- Soni of Ulali (Mayan/Apache/Yacqui) performs

3:30 - 4:00 PM --- Moeity (Inter-Tribal) performs

4 PM --- Closing Ceremony and thank-yous from SWAIA

All of these ceremonies and performances are in addition to the other auctions, shows, sales, artist booths and general bustle of the Market.

Please come back to the Tribal Artery blog as we post daily reports from Santa Fe Indian Market. Thank you.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Alice Cling and modern Navajo pottery.

Alice Cling is the daughter of Rose Williams, a ground-breaking potter from Tonalea in the Navajo (Dine’) Nation. Prior to her influence, Navajo pottery was essentially utilitarian with heavy pine pitch coating.

Rose and Alice began the movement toward more refined and finished pottery forms, stimulated by a growing awareness of the market for fine Indian pottery. Whereas tourism, museums and widespread trading drove the pottery of the pueblos, Navajo pottery bloomed primarily under the influence of Alice Cling’s beautiful shapes and softly polished and fired pitch slips.

The clay for Alice’s pots and those of her family including Susie Crank, Sue Williams and Lorraine Williams, comes from the secret deposits near Black Mesa. After being dug up and purified, it is tempered with sand and water, making it malleable.

Alice was born in Cow springs in the mid-40s, graduated from school and married Jerry Cling. Their four children are also potters, carrying on the new Navajo pottery tradition.

Alice’s work, which started out as crude and “ugly”, to use her word, has evolved into bowls, vases and ollas with a warm, red-brown-orange surface, with hints of purple and blooms of juniper fire clouds. The coloration comes in part from the iron content in her slip and partly from the conditions in her outdoor firing pits. After firing, Alice burnishes the pots' surfaces with a smooth stone or stick.

The final product has won numerous Indian market and show awards and is highly prized by Native American Indian pottery collectors, realizing handsome prices for its excellence.

As a salute to Alice Cling and her Navajo cohort, our web site at is offering a private pottery sale with 25% off all Alice Cling, Susie Crank, Sue Williams and Lorraine Williams Navajo pottery. To receive this special, limited time discount, you must visit the Navajo pages at our Web site and use the term "AC25%off" when placing your order so we will know that you learned about the sale on our enewsletter blog. The reduction will be taken at the time of purchase.
Tribal Artery is the periodic enewsletter blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person on behalf of its web sites at Native-PotteryLink, ZuniLink, TribalWorks and Native-JewelryLink. Thank you for joining us.

Calvin Begay Sale

Speaking of favorite people and their work, Calvin Begay is near the top for us. Calvin is Navajo and has a style and touch that is unmistakable with fine and precise inlay and channel work in jewelry pieces. Starting as jewelry maker, he has evolved into a designer as well, supervising the manifestation of his ideas at A Touch of Santa Fe. Calvin’s work may be signed by him personally, by one of the members of his atelier or simply stamped with ATF. But they are all Calvin Begay pieces.

For a limited time, one week only, our web site at is offering a private sale discount 25% off of every item of Calvin Begay jewelry to anyone reading this blog post. To take advantage of this private sale, which ends August 1, 2006, you must visit the site and order the item(s) you want to purchase. When you order via email message, be sure to use the term "CB25%off" to identify your authorization for our limited time 25% discount off Calvin Begay jewelry. Thank you.
Tribal Artery is a regular enewsletter blog published by Aboriginals: Art of the First Person on behalf of its web sites at Native JeweryLink, Native PotteryLink, ZuniLink and TribalWorks.

Wayne Snowbird is back

We received a phone call this week from Wayne Snowbird of Santa Clara. He has been in Nebraska for the past year and now has returned to his studio at Santa Clara Pueblo. His work is the elegant black figurative pottery representing Native American individuals.

Wayne tells us he will be in Santa Fe for Indian Market. We look forward to seeing him.

Winners and losers at IACA Spring Market

The Indian Arts and Crafts Association held its annual Spring Market in Albuquerque in May, 2006, during which it named and honored its nominees for outstanding artists of the year. These winners are listed below.

First, let us recognize that there were losers. They were all of us in the Indian Arts and Crafts movement. We lost long time supporters of the cause in the passing of Betty Numerof, Ruth Scott Kiernan and Dr. Rita Yokoi.

Ruth Kiernan died on March 1, 2006. She was the proprietor of one of the industry’s most respected Indian art trading companies, and was regularly represented at the IACA wholesale shows. Betty Numerof died on April 17, 2006 at the age of 80 and after several successful terms as president of the IACA. Dr. Rita Yokoi, who died on May 24, 2006, was the owner of Silver Hills, a wholesale dealer in Native American jewelry with a specialty in work from the Santo Domingo Pueblo. She also founded the Museum of Native American Jewelry in California. All three of these monumental women represent a huge loss to those who knew them, those who loved them and those who did business with them. We all are lessened by the loss.

Now to the winners, The following artists were recognized by the judges at the IACA Show:

Easel Art – Frank Fowler (First), Frank Fowler (Second), Daniel Ramirez (Third);
Jewelry/Lapidary – Bennard Dallasvuyaoma (First), Michael Kirk (Second), Veronica Poblano (Third)
Jewelry/Metalsmithing – Amelia Joe-Chandler (First), Al Joe (Second), Al Joe (Third);
Katsinas – Alexander Youvella Sr. (First), Alexander Youvella Sr. (Second), Prinston Collateta (Third);
Pottery – Randall Blaze (First)
Sculpture/Large – Upton Ethelbah (First), Ron Mitchell (Second);
Sculpture/Small – Randall Blaze (First), Upton Ethelbah (Second), George Shukata Willis (Third)
Traditional – Rosie Yellowhair (First), Tammy Beauvais (Second), Venus Brightstar (Third).

Best of Show was awarded to Alexander Youvella Sr.
Artist of the Year – Amelia Joe-Chandler.

Congratulations to them all. I’m sure we will see all or most of them at Indian Market next month.

Monday, July 17, 2006

July 16 Tribal Artery message

This Tribal Artery blog reproduces the contents of the July 16th Tribal Artery e-newsletter. With a few corrected links. (Don't ask. )

Major sales of the last month.

We’re pleased to report that some important pieces are heading out to new homes.

Among them is a gorgeous painting by Tasmanian Aborigine, Max Mansell. His rendition of sunset – sunrise gives us a look at the star-filled night sky, home for so many Aboriginal Dreamtime settings, bracketed by the colorful features of nightfall and day break. This acrylic on canvas painting is on its way to Washington D.C. The new owner found us on the Web after learning about the closure of our Sanibel Island gallery. She reported that she had visited the gallery several times and had her eye on this painting. She was disappointed to learn we were no longer there. But she found us on the web as have so many of our regular customers.

In addition, two of our favorite personal collection pieces have found new homes in Miami: a Dan (Cote d’Ivoire) heddle pulley and an Ashanti (Ghana) akua ba. Both were extremely well carved with great esthetic sensitivity. The buyer did a lot of research and determined that the akua ba, while not “antique”, was so well done that a similar piece had been collected by a highly regarded museum. Both pieces had been exhibited at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art while part of our collection.

Numerous Zuni and Cochiti fetish carvings also have been leaving to new homes. Emery Eriacho, of course, is ever popular and we have dozens of his carvings on site. The work of Salvador Romero and his brother, Wilson Romero, of Cochiti. also don’t gather any dust on our shelves. Both are represented in just one or two other places besides ZuniLink/Aboriginals: Art of the First Person. Both are two of our favorite artists and we look forward to seeing them and acquiring additional examples of there work when ever we can.

We also should mention the distinctive work of Melvin Sandoval, a San Felipe member who’s wife is Zuni. The fluid and impressionistic nature of his work makes almost every piece a feast for the eyes. You will not find his pieces many places beside ZuniLink.

On the jewelry front, we just received a message from a customer to the effect that a pair of earrings had found their way into the washing machine and had been damaged. He asked if they could be fixed. We are more than willing to help. We asked him to send the earrings back to us and we will take them to the artist for repair.

Other news

According to Dionne Walker of the Associated Press, a group of Virginia Indian chiefs will travel to England, to spend a week touring and discussing their history and culture as part of the 2007 commemoration of America's first permanent English colony. For Indians, it's a first step toward healing age-old scars of violence and betrayal. Approximately 60 chiefs and tribal members will make the trip. It will be the first trip to England by an official Virginia Indian delegation in more than 250 years.

Indian leaders will visit Parliament and spend two days lecturing on tribal history to students in grade schools and at the University of Kent. While there, the group also may visit the grave of Pocahontas, daughter of Powhatan, the Chief of the Pamunkey Tribe. She is buried in the southeast England region. Englishmen arriving in Virginia in 1607 encountered the Powhatan Nation, headed by Pocahontas’s father, the powerful Chief Powhatan. Pocahontas eventually married an Englishman, John Rolfe, and died while sailing on a return trip to Virginia.There are now about 17,613 Indians in Virginia, according to the U.S. Census, out of a population estimated at 20,000 in the 1600s.

Indian fare at the Fair

One of the staples of the Indian diet – at least at social occasions such as pow-wows and ceremonials is fry bread, When you attend you must trysome. In the meantime, here’s a receipe:
4 cup white flour

1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 cup lard for frying (or your choice of oil)
Mix dry ingredients together. Add warm water to dry ingredients. Knead until dough is soft and elastic and does not stick to bowl. (If necessary, add a little more warm water. ) Shape dough into balls the size of a small peach. Let these sit for 15 minutes. Pat out a bit, pinch edges and then pat back and forth by hand until dough is about 1/2 to 3/4" thick and is round. Make a small hole in the center of the round. Melt lard in a heavy frying pan. Carefully, put rounds into hot fat, one at a time. Brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
This recipe came from Jim Bodle. A Google search will turn up many more variations.

Fry bread can be eaten with toppings like ground beef, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and refried beans, in which case it sometimes is called a Navajo or Indian taco. Personally, we like it with honey and a little powdered sugar or cinnamon.

Tribal Artery is the name of both the e-newsletter and this blog from Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its associated web sites - Native-JewelryLink, offering top quality American Indian jewelry; Native-PotteryLink, offering superb hand-made pueblo pottery; TribalWorks, offering a wide spectrum of African, Australian,Arctic and Native American tribal art; ZuniLink, one of the Web's largest selections of beautifully carved Zuni, Navajo and Cochiti fetishes.

There is also a blue button to click to sign up for the e-newsletter version of Tribal Artery, if you are interested.You may, of course, unsubscribe at any time.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Corrections and new stuff

In a recent post that listed upcoming events, I omitted the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts and Crafts Show, which was this weekend. Arghhhh!

It was, I am told, a very good show. It tends to be overshadowed by Indian Market, less than a month away, in Santa Fe. Yet, I have been to Eight Northern in past years and found it a very satisfying show. It’s lower keyed and has many of the younger artists that have not developed the credentials to show at Indian Market.

For example, Loren Wallowingbull, a Jemez potter, was well represented with examples of her Eagle Dancer pottery figures. She ended up winning the Best in Youth Award at the show. We purchased one of her pieces from her about a month ago in Albuquerque. If I can figure out how to show it in this blog, I will do so. Otherwise, I will provide a link to its page on our web site.

Also as part of our mea culpa, I have to report that some of the links we provided in the calendar either were listed incorrectly or were inactive. We will try amend that bad info here. The schedule for events at Indian market can be accessed at . To volunteer as an Indian Market worker, go to

I also failed to vet the web address I was given for White Hawks Shows. It is broken. I apologize.

Finally, looking back in the archives of this blog, a found a number of comments that were unsavory. I had left the comment option open so people could freely add their thoughts. Two things happened. First, most of the comments were nothing more than people finding a way to promote their web sites. I really didn’t have a problem with that. But then some of the sites bordered on pornographic. So I have changed the guidelines for comments. They will have to be reviewed and approved by me before being posted on the blog. I am sorry for those who have to go through an extra step to put their two-cents worth in and for those who might have been exposed to the offensive content before I closed it down.

Follow this blog for more news about the world of tribal art. Thank you for your attention.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Get the Tribal Artery newsletter

In addition to this blog, we also offer a periodic e-newsletter by the same name. Occasionally, the e-newsletter will have discrete content but most times it will be an alert about the Tribal Artery blog. So if you don't want to subscribe to the blog but you want to be alerted to updates, why not sign up for our newsletter?

Heres the link.

Subscribe'>">Subscribe to the Aboriginals: Art of the First Person newsletter

Blogging from Santa Fe

We will be blogging from Santa Fe during the upcoming 2006 Santa Fe Indian Market.

If you have ever attended this market, you know how exciting it is. Native American artists from across the country bring their art for display and sale at this event. The basic event is bracketed by other events, auctions, shows and charitable get-togethers.

If you are interested in being at the market vicariously, visit this blog regularly. We will be posting daily reports of our experiences and observations.

If you are in the Santa Fe area during market, you may want to volunteer to help with the market logisitics. Contact for more information.
Tribal Artery, the blog, is a regular communication about events in teh world of tribal arts from Aboriginals: Art of the First person, with web sites at for African Australian, Arctic and Native American folk art; for Zuni, Cochiti and Navajo fetish carvings; for superb Americna Indian jewelry and for the finest American Indian ham-made pottery and storytellers.

Frank Willett passes

We have received word that Frank Willett, CBE, FRSE and former director of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, passed away on June 15, 2006 at the age of 80.

We did not know Professor Willetts but we were educated about African tribal art by his research and writings. We are grateful for his time spent in the field and making us all wiser about his subject and saddened to hear of his passing. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Coming events for July and August

The following is a list of events in the Indian Arts and Celebrations World scheduled for July and August 2006.

July 22-23 Pikes Preak Western Collectables Show, Colorado Springs [CO] Masonic Temple, Contact/info 719-635-0588

July 26-30 Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial, Gallup [NM]. Contact/info or 505-722-2228

July 27-28 Smoki Museum Navajo Rug Auction & Cowboy & Indian Art Auction Prescott [AZ]. Contact/info or 928-688-2777

August 11 Best of Santa Fe 2006, El Dorado Hotel and Spa, Santa Fe [NM]. Contact/info or 888-314-0343

August 11-13 Antique Ethnographic Art Show, El Musei Cultural de Santa Fe, Santa Fe [NM]. Contact/info

August 14-16 Invitational Antique Indian Art Show, El Musei Cultural de Santa Fe, Santa Fe [NM] Contact/info

August 18-20 Antiques of the Americas and Beyond, El Musei Cultural de Santa Fe, Santa Fe [NM] Contact/info

August 19 Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe [NM] Contact/info

August 26 Friends of hubbel Native Art Auction, Ganado [AZ] Contact/info or 928-688-2777

September 3 Page Blair's Native American Art Auction, The Gunsmoke Saloon, Page [AZ] Contact/info 928-688-2777
Would you like to have your Indian or Tribal Art event listed here? Email information to Tribal Artery

More about the cost of silver

The July issue of The Indian Trader carries an article on the increasing cost of silver and its impact on Native American silversmiths. (The Indian Trader is a hard-copy monthly newspaper. It does not have a web site but subscriptions by mail are quite reasonable. Call 800-748-1624 to subscribe.)

The article cites the story of Seraphine Wilson and Justin Wilson Jr, members of the Navajo tribe, who have found the 117 per cent increase in silver prices over the past year requiring them to work longer hours in order to produce sufficient product to make money.

The Indian Trader quotes brokers that the "cost will nearly double again, hitting between $20 to $30 an ounce by the summer."

The Wilson's claim to be working 12 to 14 hours a day vs. the 8 to 10 hours a day that they worked when silver was less expensive. They also drive the 75 miles from their home on the Navajo reservation to Gallup two or three times a week, where they sell their product to dealers and traders and buy replacement silver to work with. The Indian Trader quotes Wilson as saying, "We're not buying as much silver as we used to."

The impact of the price of silver on Native American jewelry production is yet to be seen in full. It is not impossible, however, to anticipate a reduction in authentic Native American silver jewelry and an increase in the cost of it.

We are covering this subject because we don't want people who are thinking about buying Navajo or Zuni silver jewelry to delay to the point that their price and selection options are severely limited.
Tribal Artery is an occasional blog about Tribal Art from Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its allied web sites, Native-JewelryLink, for authentic jewelry from Navajo, Zuni and other Native American artist, Native-Potterylink, for superb, authentic Native American pottery, ZuniLink, for outstanding authentic fetish carvings from Zuni, Cochiti and San Felipe, and TribalWorks, for a pot pourri of Native American folk art, Australian Aboriginal art, Arctic and Pacific Northwest art and African tribal art.

Thank you for visiting. If you would like to subscribe to our periodic e-newsletter, also called Tribal Artery, click on the blue button when you visit one of our web sites.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

There's gold in that 'thar' jewelry

Actually, there’s a lot more than gold and a lot more value than there was just three years ago.

In July, 2002, the price of gold was between $303 and $319 per ounce. Today, an ounce of gold is quoted on the spot market at $632 per ounce.

Silver has been no slouch either. In July, 2002, an ounce of silver would have cost between $4.82 and $5.05. Today, it’s worth $11.38.

My math calls that doubling in value.

Now, this is not an argument for going out and buying gold or silver bullion as an investment. It is a fact, however, that prices that were set by many Native American jewelry sellers based on 2002 costs have not been raised since then. Specifically, Aboriginals: Art of the First Person’s Native American jewelry web site, , which specializes in top quality Hopi, Isleta, Navajo and Zuni jewelry is still charging the same price for its gold and silver jewelry as it was three years ago.

Today’s replacement cost for those items comes close to today’s retail price. In fact, during our most recent trip to the tribal jewelry-makers of Arizona and New Mexico, we were told by at least one highly respected name artist that she no longer works in gold because of its cost.

Which makes gold and/or silver jewelry, hand-made by the artisans of Native America, an extraordinary value at today’s prices. And the beauty of the work makes it a far superior investment to precious metal bullion. After all, you can’t wear a silver bar.

Native-JewelryLink is pledged to hold its Native American jewelry prices right where they are for the time being. And, as a reader of our e-newsletter and blog, Tribal Artery, if you identify yourself by citing the promo code “Tribal Artery”, we will give you a 10% discount right off the top of any regular current price if you order before August 1, 2006.

Happy prospecting.

Editor's Note: It has been several months since our last blog posting. Thanks for revisiting. We plan to be more active in future weeks. In the meantime, our web sites at ZuniLink and Native-PotteryLink remain active, with new items being posted whenever they arrive. We welcome your visit.