Mentored by his uncle, the late, celebrated Fred Kabotie, founder of the “Hopi style” of jewelry, and the Hopi Guild (which trained many jewelers), Watson is a major, prize-winning jeweler himself.
He is especially noted for his intricate workmanship, the high drama of his designs, which relate to Hopi culture and life, and the virtuoso mixing of silver and gold.
This superb bolo demonstrates his faultless command of metal work. On a silver base, the gleaming gold overlay designs on the shadowbox frame are impeccably delineated.
Angular cloud signs at the top; stepped rain symbols, and stylized, chiseled, eagle feathers at the bottom. These are powerful good luck symbols, with prayers for life-giving rain, so crucial in the high desert.
In the center, set off against the darkened and textured background, an animated buffalo dancer is shown in mid-step. Aside from the energy of his movement, notice some of the fine details. He holds a rattle,and has deerskin ties on his legs.
Sash, moccasin fringes, bracelets, shaggy buffalo pelt headdress, and four eagle feathers dangling behind, are all clean and crisp. The tips are simple and silver, to keep attention on the splendid bolo itself.
The perfectly executed elements are composed to form a dynamic harmony of theme and forms, very pleasing to the eye.
Glittering with luxurious gold, like an ancient artifact, this magnificent piece will surely be a treasured heirloom. It is signed, of course; visible in the final photo.