When your parents are both celebrated jewelers, it’s likely that you will make jewelry, even at age six! Now that Robert is 10, this is what his silver work looks like.
He won both a 1st Prize and a 3rd Place ribbon at Santa Fe Indian Market’s Youth Division.
Robert did all the tricky tufa carving. Tufa is a naturally hardened volcanic sand-like substance.
To cast from tufa, you saw a chunk, slice in half like a layer cake, carve out the desired design – very carefully, since the material is so crumbly – then pour molten silver into the mold.
After it is cooled, you pry out the rough cast – again, very carefully, so there’s a hope to use the mode again – and then finish off the silver to the finished product.
The subject, according to the artist himself: “Just a Navajo man in Chicago, walking down the street.”
That urban skyline is seen in the background, with a car on the double-lane highway behind the cool Navajo man in traditional hairdo and sunglasses.
Even though dad Darryl Dean Begay cast and oxidized this plate for his gifted young son, the carving is pretty impressive, clean and clear.
This budding artist signals more Best in Shows for the Begay family, in the future.