His first ambition was to design video games, an obsession that led directly to making jewelry: “At age 8 I (sic) started out with jewelry making in order to buy the latest video games (my mom got tired of paying for them).” (“Mom” is celebrated jeweler, Jolene Eustace.)
Now, a noted jeweler, himself, this third-generation artist from Zuni and Cochiti Pueblos, says “The goal with my jewelry is to move forward with native designs but keep the spirit of my ancestors intact within.”
This striking figural pendant is a shining example of his acclaimed, new/old pieces.
The polished silver surface is soldered on a darkened and textured under-layer. Both follow the same outline, of the abstract figure.
This surface is bisected by a dramatic slash of lightning, ending in an arrowhead. This symbol relates to rainfall, a great blessing for high desert-dwelling tribes.
Stars, dots, and crosses decorate this softly gleaming surface, symbolizing raindrops, and the four corners of the earth., to which the blessings of water should extend.
Above, the figure has a handsome tablita (headdress) of softly hued turquoise, inlaid in textured silver. The gracefully tapered shapes symbolize eagle feathers.
Eric cuts the stones, himself, and the gentle green turquoise is natural.
One “feather” of turquoise is a darker, teal color, also natural; he evidently did not have enough of the green to complete the headdress.
Small silver domes separate the feathers and punctuate the bottom of the figure’s head and the bottom.
The sharply tapered form of the figure and the downward energy of the lightning suggest a punctuation point, with the silver ball as the period.
On the reverse, Eric has created an entirely different design: an elongated sunburst of chiseled lines, with stamped stars of varying sizes, sprinkled among them. Even the bail is chiseled!
Almost hidden, in the center of the sunburst, are his initials, EO, and the word sterling.
Like much of his work, this impressive pendant is handsome, with graceful forms, beautiful turquoise, and a fine balance between textured and polished surfaces.
Eric says he wants to make his family proud of his work.
Looking at this pendant, with beautiful stones, an animated, but serene, design, and confident, precise workmanship, we can all be proud of his work.