Monday, October 30, 2006

The belt is gone...

Visitors to the home page of our home page would have seen the stunning Zuni belt, created by Harlan Coonsis, that we offered for sale.

It has been sold.

We pretty much broke-even on the sales vs. original purchase price. That's okay.

We had it for several years as part of our personal collection. It brought us great pleasure. So we gained from having it in our possession, rendering any other return on investment superfluous.

We will keep it on the home page at the above link for a few more days so that you may see it if you missed it originally.

Then it will be removed.

What will November bring?

We live in interesting times to say the least.

Without taking political sides – there’s plenty of that on other blogs – we are a little concerned about what November will look like for you and us.

An article that came out today suggests that, between the predicted closeness of so many election races and the increase in paper ballots, it may be weeks before all the ballots are counted and the results certified. In very close races, there may very well be re-counts and lawsuits too.

The article's author’s concern is that it could be mid-December before many races are finally determined.

May we offer two pieces of advice?

First, be aware that the holidays are approaching at warp speed and anything you want to purchase as a gift should be near the top of your "things to do list".

Second, if you are delayed in getting your gifts purchased, be aware that our web sites,,, and will be open 24 hours a day right up until Christmas (afterwards too, to be fully informative). If you get your order in before December 15, we guarantee delivery no later than December 24. Native-JewelryLink has a free shipping offer for any purchase exceeding $100 to be sent USPS Priority to any place in the US. Insurance, if desired is extra, of course.

Free or discounted shipping may also be available at our other sites too. Be sure to ask when you order. Generally, we exclude items that require extensive packing or handling, or overseas shipping.

By the way, any item purchased as a gift may be returned by the gift recipient through December 31 for a full purchase price refund - assuming it is in original condition. Items returned after that MAY qualify for a store credit. Be sure the recipient contacts us first, before sending the item back so that we can look for it in the mail.

Keep a smile on your face for November. We will be looking for you

Why are they saying those things about us…

Well aware that the World Wide Web is populated by people who are not as reputable as we are, and most who are, we thought you might take some reassurance from some of the things people who have done business with us have said about us.

“Terrific item shipped promptly and carefully packed. Well done!”

“Item well presented, service was quick and pleasant.”

“Item was better than picture and service was quick and pleasant.”

“Carefully packaged and quickly shipped. Thank you.”

“Thanks for this beautiful piece of history! Fast shipping. VERY NICE sellers!”

“Adorable items. Hope to buy from you again.”

“Outstanding service and product”

“It’s beautiful. Thanks much.”

“Beautiful merchandise, safely pkgd, fast delivery, couldn’t ask for better.”

“Superb! Even better than expected and really fast safe service! Top Notch!"

If these sound like eBay feedback comments, they are. Yes. We also have an eBay store at Art of the First Person. We use it either for items that don’t fit in our regular categories or to give people, who might not otherwise find our web sites, a sample of our offerings and service. Within the limitations of eBay, we include links back to our web sites at,, and

Anyway. These are honest-to-goodness comments about the way we do business. You can check them out for yourself by visiting the eBay store. You will also see that we have a 100% positive score as an eBay player, which we have been since 1998.

None of the above is to brag – although we are proud of our record and performance. We offer it simply to reinforce what most of readers already know. You can count on us.

Web site updates

We have been working industriously on updates to our web sites. In no special order of importance – because it is all important when it comes to you –

We have added secure protection to our order form at It is a work in progress, however. Each and every link to the order form must be coded to refer to the new secure form, instead of the old order form.

With hundreds of links from various pages, it is a long and time-consuming process. So far, Cases #1, #1A, #2, #3, #3A, #4, #5, #6, #6A, #7 and #7A have been upgraded so that all the order form links on those pages, and for the items listed on them, should link to the secure order form page. You can tell it is “secure” by looking a the browser bar. If it is yellow, has "https" at the start and a padlock icon at the end, it is secure for transmitting confidential information, such as that associated with credit cards.

If you land on the order form and it doesn’t have those indicators, it is not secure. But – GOOD NEWS – there is a link on the insecure order form that will take you to a secure version of it. Check the browser bar to be sure. That's good advice no matter who you are dealing with.

Second, we have added about 50 new fetish carvings to the ZuniLink site. They are scattered around the site. Sorry. It’s the way the site is organized. But, if you see a red header with the word “NEW” in it, the carving is either new or very recent. They tend to be at the bottom of the page they are added to, so scroll down.

Third, we have added two new Michael Kanteena pots to the Native-PotteryLink site. We also are in process of repairing links, especially to the order form. If you have trouble getting where you want, please call us on the toll-free 800 line – 800-305-0185. We are here and available almost every day from 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time (Daylight Savings at the moment). If we are not here, leave a message on the answering machine and we will call you back as soon as we get the message.

So, have had a busy week – with more work ahead – accounting for the delay in getting this blog, and the email newsletter alert, posted. Thank you for your patience

PS: You may comment on this blog at any time and we will get your feedback, which we appreciate.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women

The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College presents Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Painters, a groundbreaking exhibition of paintings by thirty-three indigenous female artists from across the Australian continent. On view October 7-December 10, 2006, Dreaming Their Way is the first-ever exhibition of its kind in the United States. Featuring intensely colorful canvases and intricate bark paintings, this exhibition demonstrates these women's bold and often experimental interpretations of their cultural heritage. Works from renowned artists such as Dorothy Napangardi and the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, as well as emerging painters such as Abie Loy and Regina Wilson express the Indigenous relationship to the land, understanding of the world and how it came into being, and sense of obligation to their culture. While Indigenous art is difficult to characterize as a whole, similarities in palette, dotting styles, use of symbols, and themes do appear in certain geographic areas. Many artists have developed distinctive personal styles as well, together contributing to one of the greatest contemporary art movements of the age.

Linked to the spiritual realm,
Indigenous Australian art is rooted in ancient stories-or Dreamings-as well as each artist's deep connection to the land. Simply interpreted, the Dreaming is the period of creation, when spiritual ancestors created the land and the life upon it, including humans, while establishing the moral code known as the Law. These all-encompassing religious and spiritual beliefs govern the lives of the Indigenous peoples of Australia. For thousands of years, Dreamings have been ceremoniously communicated through painting, dance, storytelling, and other artistic expressions, creating a strong, living bond between the people and their homeland. Rendered mostly on ephemeral materials, such as sand, these sacred images were intended only for private, initiated eyes. During the last thirty years, however, this has changed, to the manifest benefit of the international art world.

While artists in the northern part of the Australian
continent have been painting with natural ochres for audiences outside of their culture since the early part of the twentieth century, this represents a more recent development in central Australia. In 1971, a non-Indigenous teacher named Geoffrey Bardon encouraged Papunya community elders in the central Australian desert to use boards and acrylics to represent Dreaming designs that had previously been used in ceremonial contexts with ephemeral materials. Today a network of art-producing communities crosses the continent's vast expanse.

Painting was initially a male occupation in a society in
which the roles and responsibilities of men and women are clearly delineated. In the 1960s, however, women started painting in northern Australia, and two decades later, in the central deserts. Over the last decade women artists have received ever more attention and are often a major financial support for their families and communities. What distinguishes Indigenous Australian art from other contemporary work is its basis in ancient tradition and in the artists' relationship to the land. In their depiction of Dreamings, artists are stating their position in the world using a prescribed repertoire of imagery. Within these well-defined limits, women artists have become resourceful and imaginative in creating new ways to represent their peoples' ancient stories. The diversity and variety of the paintings in Dreaming Their Way is as remarkable as their array of colors and motifs.

At the 1997 Venice Biennale, the three artists chosen to
represent Australia were all Indigenous women. In 2005, the winners in all five categories of the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA)-the most prestigious Indigenous art award-were women. This marked the first time in the twenty-two year history of the awards that the entire field of winners arose from one gender.

Dartmouth College has a well-established interest in Indigenous Australian culture, and the Hood Museum of Art has long celebrated the role of art in historical and cultural heritage. Dreaming Their Way illustrates the extraordinary variety of Indigenous artistic styles and the diversity of the land that inspires these pieces, from the arid desert regions of the central terrain to the plush tropical landscapes of the north. This exhibition also gives insight into the separated gender spheres that still exist in these societies and highlights the important contributions female artists make to this unique contemporary art.

This exhibition was organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. Its presentation at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, is generously funded by the George O. Southwick 1957 Memorial Fund, the Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund, and the William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Hall Fund.

A full-color illustrated catalogue features essays by BRITTA KONAU, curator of the exhibition and Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; MARGO W. SMITH, Director and Curator of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville; and BRIAN P. KENNEDY, Director of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, and former Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. The catalogue includes statements by and biographies of the artists and is available through the Hood Museum of Art Shop.
Tribal Artery is the periodic blog about tribal art from
Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, an online gallery with 25 years of experience in collecting and selling Australian Aboriginal art. Additional web sites include African, Arctic, Navajo folk art and other tribal art at,, and

The painting below is NOT part of the exhibition at the Hood
but is typical of the genre and is one of several in
the collection of
and available from Aboriginals:Art of the First Person
Women's Body Painting, Acrylic on linen, 26" x 22",
Gabriella Possum Nungararrayi, daughter of deceased master, Clifford Possum

World-Class African Art Collection Donated to University of Michigan Museum of Art

Ann Arbor businessman, philanthropist, art collector, and devoted UMMA supporter Helmut F. Stern has given his extraordinary collection of African art to the Museum of Art. The collection of ninety pieces—regarded by experts as among the most significant collections of Central African material—is noted for its outstanding objects from many cultures, with a primary focus on art of the Congo. Many of the Stern pieces will be highlighted once the expanded Museum—with dramatically enhanced gallery space for African art—opens in 2008.

Originally from Hanover, Germany, Mr. Stern began collecting modern European and American art in 1950s, later becoming increasingly interested in Asian and African art. During the 1980s, under the guidance of then-UMMA director Evan Maurer, a noted expert on African art, the collection and its focus on the art of the Congo region took shape as new works were acquired from art dealers across the United States and Europe. Over the years, Stern generously gave numerous works of art to UMMA and provided the Museum with funds for key art acquisitions. Previous Stern gifts to UMMA include a significant collection of Japanese paintings, masterworks by Swiss artist Paul Klee and English master J. M. W. Turner, and several individual African works.

The Stern collection of African art given to UMMA has been broadly studied and published, and was presented in a major exhibition and accompanying catalogue at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1999 entitled Spirits Embodied: Art of the Congo—Selections from the Helmut F. Stern Collection, which was curated by former UMMA Director Maurer and Niangi Batulukisi.

In recent years, UMMA has stepped up its presentation and acquisition of African art, an especially dynamic and exciting field, and one with increased scholarly attention at the University due to the appointments of African art historians Ray Silverman and David T. Doris to the faculty.

In addition to expanded exhibit space for African art, the Museum's new wing will provide a variety of object study classrooms and open storage galleries, as well as housing the Charles Sawyer Center for Museum Studies. Collectively, these will allow faculty and student researchers, in particular, and the public in general, fuller access to all the Museum's outstanding works of art not on gallery display.

University of Michigan Museum of Art is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the gateway to the University’s historic central campus.


Tribal Artery is the periodic blog of tribal art news and information of
Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, an online gallery with more than 25 years of experience in the collection and sales of authentic tribal art from Africa, Aboriginal Australia, Native America and the Arctic, with web sites at,, and

The William W. Brill Collection goes to auction.

New York, New York is the place. November 17th, 2006 is the date. Sotheby’s is the auction house.

The collection of approximately 180 works of African art represents the results of four decades old collection from Brill’s travels and relationships with some of the most knowledgable dealers of his time, including Charles Ratton and Rene Rasmussen in (Paris), Merton D. Simpson (New York), Ralph Nash (London) and Morton Lipkin/Robert Stolper (Amsterdam). Brill was a pioneer in African art collecting and was very supportive of institutions that collected, preserved and displayed African art. The objects, expected to bring $1.8/2.3 million, have been off the market for more than forty years.

A various-owners sale of African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art, including an Important European Private Collection, will also be held on November 17th.

PBS Announces American Indian Heritage Month schedule

Indian Country Diaries – November 2006 – is a new two-part series that goes inside modern Native American communities to reveal a diverse people working to revitalize their culture while improving the social, physical and spiritual health of their people.

In part one, “A Seat at the Drum” features Native Americans living in Los Angeles. Part two, “Spiral of Fire.” features the Eastern Band of Cherokees in their North Carolina homeland.

Seasoned With Spirit – November 2006 – This five-part series features a culinary tour combining America’s bounty with Native American history and culture with delicious, healthy recipes inspired by indigenous foods.

Gulf Coast Originals, covers native influences on Cajun cooking. Cuisine of the Desert Southwest, focuses on the three-day Tohono O’Odham harvest of saguaro cactus fruit, wild spinach with cholla buds and chiltepine peppers, tapary beans with ribs, ash bread and sweet, refreshing mesquite juice. Return of the Buffalo, travels to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation to explore sun-dried bison with chokecherries, chokecherry soup and grilled bison with sage-chokecherry jus. Bounty of the River’s Edge, shares the Yurok feast of alderwood-smoked salmon, dried sirfish and eels served with sturgeon egg bread. Food Upon The Waters, explores the wild rice harvest of the Ashinabe, or Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes, including wild rice and maple syrup cake, buffalo, wild rice and cranberry –stuffed acorn squash, buffalo stew, and swamp tea.

The Journey of Sacagawea – November 2006 – This program provides an historical account of Sacagawea’s life and the legends about her.

The Mystery of Chaco Canyon – November 2006 – Discusses how an ancient civilization , without a known written language was able to arrange its buildings in virtual celestial calendar reflected the annual sun cycle and the 19-year cycle of the moon, in area roughly the size of Ireland.

Vis A Vis – November 2006 – Australian aboriginal actress/playwright Ningali Lawford and American Indian performance artist James Luna meet through a series of digital video links to share their lives and work, and explore how each uses humor and storytelling to confront the stereotypes of native peoples in their own countries.

Check your local listings for dates and times.

Do you blog?

If you are reading this blog, there is some possibility that you have blogged, are blogging or are considering blogging yourself.

A new “Carnival of Tribal Art" has been created to serve as a gathering place for links to blogs (and websites) that cover various aspects of tribal art.

To include a link to your blog, email the link and a summary of the blog to I will see that any relevant and appropriate blog is linked on the Carnival of Tribal Art

Calvin Begay Fans – Listen up.

Whilst poking around in our unposted earrings, we came across a handful of Calvin Begay’s pieces.

If you are a fan, take a look at Here are some examples.Click on the links to see more.

Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian Celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian Celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

Contact: Amy Drapeau, 202-633-6614 or; Leonda Levchuk, 202-633-6613 or, both of the Smithsonian Institution; Public only: 202-633-1000

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- To celebrate American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month in November, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., will host a variety of free public programs.

Panel Discussion: On Friday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater, a panel discussion will be held on "Indigenous Archaeology: Respecting Objects, History and Place."

Dance Performance: The Lepquinm Gumilgit Gogoadim (Our Own Dance in Our Hearts) Dance Group from Alaska, will present heritage songs and dances from the Tsimshian culture Friday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Nov. 5, at 10:30 a.m. and noon in the Rasmuson Theater.

Storytelling: Hope and Company, led by Ishmael Hope (Inupiaq/Tlingit) and storytellers, will share stories about Alaska Native heritage Tuesday, Nov. 7 through Thursday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 and 3:30 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater.

Art Demonstration: David Boxley (Tsimshian) will demonstrate the art of wood carving from Friday, Nov. 10 through Sunday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. in the Potomac Atrium.

Family Day: A Family Day program on "North Pacific Coast Weaving Traditions" will take place Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Education Workshop on the third level. Tlingit weaver Lorene Boxley will talk about Tlingit women's weaving and participants will have an opportunity to create their own mat or basket to take home.

Performance: Tobias Vanderhoop (Aquinnah Wampanoag) will present "A Wampanoag Thanksgiving" Tuesday, Nov. 14 through Thursday, Nov. 16, at 10:30 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater. Through story, song, drumming and dance, visitors will learn how Wampanoags traditionally offered thanks before contact with non- Natives.

Film: "Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii" will be screened in the Rasmuson Theater Friday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1:30 p.m.

All programs are subject to change, for a complete schedule of public programs, visit .

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Native American Artist's web sites

In a recent survey, Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) determined that fewer than 25% of the artists surveyed have their own web site, although more than 50% use a computer in one way or another.

Frankly, we support the concept of Native American artist web sites. Just as we support Indian Market as an opportunity for artists to get full retail prices for their work.

As someone who has built and maintains web sites, however, I know it is not a part-time job. In my opinion, the artists' time will be more productively spent doing what they do best and love to do; creating art.

Fortunately for the artists and for the customers who love their creations, there are web sites like these (,, and to provide an outlet and a medium for the acquisition of the art production.

By the way, while we understand some dealers operate on a consignment basis, we do not. We pay cash for every item we purchase, providing the artists with steady and assured income for their efforts. The artists could eventually get somewhat more for their work under the consignment system. But they almost certainly will have to wait until it is resold to realize any cash flow. And cash flow is what puts food in the cupboard and supplies on the worktable.

That's why we like to do business the way we do.

SWAIA sponsoring an Indian Market Winter Showcase

Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) has annoucned that a Winter Showcase will be held on Thanksgiving weekend in Santa Fe.

A special "early bird" session will be held on Friday, November 24, from 5 PM to 8 PM. with 100 artists' booths available for buyers willing to pay a $50 admission fee to purchase before the full event on Saturday, November 25. Admission will include a wine bar and hors d'oeuvres.

Saturday's event will open at 9 AM and continue until 4 PM with a $5 admission fee.

All events will be at the Inn and Spa at Loretta, downtown Santa Fe. For more information, visit .

By the way, the 86th Annual SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market will be held on August 18 and 19. Based on occupancy rates at previous Indian Markets, it's not too soon to get your hotel reservations in.

It's all about trust...and return privileges.

We know that there is a difference between buying something in person, where you can hold it and make sure it is what you want, and buying on the basis of a photo and some words you read on the internet.

Whenever you buy from an Aboriginals Gallery web site (,, and, you have 10 days from receipt of the order to evaluate it and determine that it is what you thought it would be. If you are unhappy with your purchase and you let us know with 10 days and you return the item in its original condition, we will refund 100% of your purchase price. Shipping costs will be your responsibility.

If the item is being purchased as a Chrismas gift, we will honor the return privilege for seven days after the December 25th.

If you miss the cut-off date for full refund, we still will provide a credit equal to the amount of your purchase price on any other item on any of our sites, as long as the item is returned within a reasonable period in original condition.

We also offer a 30-day authentication privilege for certain purchases.

If, within 30 days, some recognized third-party authority challenges the authenticity of the item and disputes that it is not what we advertised it to be, you may return it for a full refund of your purchase price. We only ask that you provide the name and contact information of the authority so that we can determine what has been mis-identified and what he or she feels is the proper identification.

In 25 years of trading in tribal art, we have had one item returned for a dispute over its authenticity. We honored our refund pledge. We have had less than a dozen of the hundreds of items purchased from us returned for reasons of dissatisfaction. In every case, we either refunded the purchase price or provided a full value merchandise credit.

It's all about trust.

Glass with class

Recently, some Native American artists have begun to work in hand-blown art glass.

We recently acquired a work by Ira Lujan of the Taos Pueblo that is stunning in its artistry. Here is a thumbnail photo of it.

Clicking on the thumbnail will take you to a page with a larger photo, dimensions and price.

Please note that the canteen has a leather strap suspending matching glass amulets for a beautiful display when hung on a wall.

We hope to see and acquire more of Ira's work in the future.

If you would like to acquire this one for your collection, it is available as of this posting.

Lynn & Jayne Quam favorites

We have yet to meet a Zuni carver for which we don't have the highest respect and admiration. Lynn & Jayne Quam, however, are among our favorites. Lynn is Zuni and Jayne, his wife, is Navajo/Zuni by virtue of marriage. They live on the Zuni Pueblo and have had us into their home on several occasions.

Lynn is well-known for his buffalos, although he also does inspired bears as well. Here's one of his latest buffalo carvings, in mother of pearl. If you click on the thumbnail here, you will go to a larger photo, with dimensions, price and a link back to his page to see more of his outstanding work.

Jayne is equally well-known for her wolf and fox pairs and family carvings. Here is one of her latest.
Again, click on the thumbnail photo to go to a larger picture with dimensions and pricing. We get many request for her pairs from people who want to give them as unique gifts to couples who are getting married or are expecting a family addition.

Lynn and Jayne are proof that you can be very talented and very nice too.

Tribal Artery is the periodic blog from Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and its allied websites at Native-JewelryLink,, and You are invited to visit them. Thank you.

Now, it's OUR nickel.

"Finally," some would say, we have acquired a toll-free 800# for people who want to inquire about an item being offered or to actually place an order.

Up till now we have not felt the need for one or suspected that not having one would stand between a potential buyer and the object of his or her affection.

Some recent research, however, has led us to believe that an 800#, whether worth the cost or not, is a form of respect for our customers that we should be providing.

So now we have one - 800-305-0185.

Write it down or load it into your cellphone directory.

You can call us and it won't cost you an extra penny.

It's about time, I guess.

Do you agree? Will an 800# make you more likely to call? Why not post a comment to this blog with your reaction.

Or call us. It's toll-free at 800-305-0185.


Tribal Artery is the periodic blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and our online galleries at Native Jewelry Link, Native Pottery Link, TribalWorks and ZuniLink. Thanks for visiting our blog. Let us know if you find it interesting and/or informative.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hopi-Navajo Nations find common ground

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Navajo and Hopi tribes have settled a dispute over the use of reservation lands that has soured relationships between the two people for decades.

In 1966, the Federal Government banned any new consruction on the disputed lands, including even roof and plumbing repairs. 700,000 acres of Navajo land claimed as aboriginal lands by the Hopi were in dispute.

The Hopi Tribal Council voted 18-0 to approve an intergovernmental agreement that had previously been approved by the Navajo Nation Council.

The agreement will allow both the Hopi people and the Navajo people to use adjoining lands for traditional religious purposes without approval from the other tribe.

For more information go to

New folk art pottery posted

Tribalworks, the folk art web site of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, has just had a handful of new pottery folk art animals from Navajo, Larry Benn, posted to its Navajo Gallery.

Here are some thumbnails.

Click on anyone of them to go to the page that will give you more detail.

This is a relatively new medium for Native American folk arts. We have seen several pieces of varied theme and size. These animals, however, struck us as particularly charming.

Needless to say, each is a unique one-off and duplicates are not available. So, if you see one you want, it would be wise to order now.


Tribal Artery is the periodic blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and our online galleries at Native Jewelry Link, Native Pottery Link, TribalWorks and ZuniLink. Thanks for visiting our blog. Let us know if you find it interesting and/or informative.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Three vintage Native American pots go to new homes.

Aboriginals Gallery recently sold three pots featured on its site to collectors of vintage Native American pottery.

One of them was a canteen-style, corrugated-finish by pot by the late Stella Shutiva of Acoma Pueblo. A second one was a nice older olla by Nambe artist, Lonnie Vigil.

The third was a past Indian Market prize winner by Christine McHorse, Navajo.

Each of these vintage pots was available at a bargain price simply because we acquired them several years ago and never raised the selling price to replacement value.

Stella Shutiva is deceased. Lonnie Vigil’s reputation has grown over the years so that his work now earns much higher prices than we paid a few years ago. Christine McHorse has abandoned making pottery in favor of creating bronzes.

If you are so inclined, give the site a look-over for some vintage treasure at prices from the past that may be waiting there for you.


Tribal Artery is the periodic blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and our online galleries at Native Jewelry Link, Native Pottery Link, TribalWorks and ZuniLink. Thanks for visiting our blog. Let us know if you find it interesting and/or informative.

Surfing for the good stuff

If you are like me, you are prone to distraction while on the web. I chalk it up to the peril of an active mind. (grin)

Anyway, I start down one digital path looking for something specific and a run across something related that I can’t pass by without a click.

“Whoops! There he goes”, says Susanne.

Suddenly I’m looking at stuff I didn’t intend to search for but that is absolutely captivating.

Two recent web sites that I came across may be of interest to you so I will share the links here. One is the Douglas Society at the Denver Museum. It’s powerhouse of tribal art information. The address is

A second site is the California Academy of Science in San Francisco. You don’t have to go to the City by the Golden Gate to share one of the most impressive sites – both graphically and for content – that I have ever come across. The address is Click through to research/library/elkus for a fascinating sortie into the papers of this major collector of Southwest Indian art.

Incidentally, both sites have spectacular online newsletters.

When you find sites like these, you might want to put them in your “favorites” folder for future reference. We’ve found that there is so much to see and consider on the web that it is easy to get lost and not know where you saw something or someplace you want to return. Your “favorites” folder is a good place to “file” these sites so you can find them easily.

We assume you already put our sites in that folder. (grin)


Tribal Artery is the periodic blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and our online galleries at Native Jewelry Link, Native Pottery Link, TribalWorks and ZuniLink. You are cordially invited to visit the sites and see what is new.

We love feedback.

Our favorite form of feedback is an actual order or a question about one of the art objects we offer.

Second is from folks who email us to tell us how much they like our web sites.

But other feedback can be even more important.

After a recent wall-to-wall redesign of our site at, we solicited review and feedback from some of our friends and readers.

One of those people contacted us to say that they had found a broken link on the site. Sure enough. Even more important, when we went in to fix it, we found a couple of pages that we thought we had updated but had not. So we fixed those too.

So our thanks go to Rand at for setting us on a voyage of improvement. Incidentally, Rand’s site is one of the most informative you will find on the web on the subject of African tribal art. If you can’t find what you are looking for on our African tribal art pages at, we recommend a visit to Rand’s site to see what he has. Heck, we don’t mind if you visit his place first and then visit ours. The most important thing is to find what you are looking for, regardless of where you find it.


Tribal Artery is the periodic blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and our online galleries at Native Jewelry Link, Native Pottery Link, TribalWorks and ZuniLink.

How important is a “place.”

While we were in Santa Fe recently, we visited one of our favorite, friendly “competitors”, Arch Theissen. Arch operates Sunshine Studio in Santa Fe. We had never visited his “gallery” before and were looking forward to seeing his retail operation.

To our surprise, just like us, Arch’s Sunshine Studio doesn’t have a retail location. Unlike us, who only closed our retail gallery about a year ago, Arch and his late wife, Challis, never had a retail location. They have always operated out of their home.

We took some reassurance from this. In this age of the internet, the existence or non-existence of a physical gallery becomes less significant, as long as the resource has a presence somewhere and a way to be contacted in case of a problem.

The difference a retail location makes is three-fold. First, is the nature of the business. People that shop on line, usually are looking for something specific and are interested in buying when they find it. They also are inherently research-oriented, with extensive opportunities to compare items and prices without ever leaving their computers. People that shop in a physical gallery are more impulsive. They may not be looking for the item they actually purchase. It strikes them while they are on mission to buy. But not necessarily looking for the object they finally buy.

Second is the cost structure of a retail operation. If a dealer has a store, he or she also has location costs, rent or mortgage costs, and employee costs. Within a month of closing our physical gallery, we were able to reduce our prices across the board, because we had reduced our cost and didn’t have to markup items to cover that cost.

Third is the ability for a customer to actually hold an object in hand and make a buying decision based on first-person experience with the object. There is little or no chance that the buyer will not like the item when it gets home and therefore will not want to return it. On the other hand, any purchase online has to include a return privilege with it. Regardless of cost, we at Aboriginals offer every purchaser 14 days to hold the item, try it on, look at it in different lighting conditions and, if it turns out to be not what they thought it was based on photos and descriptions on the web, send it back for a full refund of purchase price. Shipping is the responsibility of the buyer. Actually, we also offer merchandise credit for returns during a reasonable period after the 14-day privilege has expired, assuming the item is in original condition and the privilege is not abused. Finally, for items where provenance is critical, we also allow 30 days for the buyer to check the authenticity of the item.

In the end, the ultimate measure of trust is in the reputation of the seller. Arch has been in business for a couple dozen years, as have we. We would not still be around if our customers didn’t know they could trust us to stand behind our offerings and deliver the service we promise.

So what is your opinion? Do you believe it is important to have a retail “place”? Or are you content to shop on line, where the variety, selection and hours are almost unlimited? Give us your feedback, if you are so inclined.


Tribal Artery is the periodic blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and our online galleries at Native Jewelry Link, Native Pottery Link, TribalWorks and ZuniLink. You are invited to visit the sites and see what's new.