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Benson Manygoats

Known for his exemplary inlay work, in particular, this younger silversmith is essentially self-taught. Although older relatives had made traditional Navajo pieces, he became interested in mosaic inly at an early age, and played around until he mastered the technique. He worked for the celebrated Ray Tracey for many years, making the pieces that the more famous jeweler designed, before striking out on his own.
Now, he creates his own designs and earns his own awards. Inlay is still his preferred style. “I like to use stones that are more than an eighth of an inch thick, because they last longer,” he notes. “I like bright stones with no cracks, and I like when the stone is real clear. I still learn things, like not to throw old tools away…they can be really useful.” From anonymous worker to showing at the Heard Museum art show, Benson has come a long way from the Chuska mountains of his youth.