Undoubtedly the most unique, creative, meticulous and unusual jeweler we know of, Roland is unlike any others. Redundant, but true. This is his latest “film-strip” pendant, the series probably inspired by his involvement with film crews in Monument Valley where he lives and helps his mother with her sheep. There is no need to memorize each segment. Also a writer, Roland provides a two-page explanation and description which goes with the pendant.
Slightly curled, the silver rectangle is punctured with rectangular holes on either side, like a strip of film. Top and bottom are cut on a slight diagonal, again like a filmstrip. There are five separate “frames”.
- “Close -up shot of rare, New Mexico photo-bombing butterfly’s classic behavior, seeking the limelight of Hollyweird ” “(sic). Butterfly’s body is 14-karat gold.
- “Panning out telephoto shot. Four balloonists sway amongst the morning’s last remnants of fog.” The rare NMPB butterfly is seen in 14-karat gold, with the special shapes piggy balloon in copper, like the basket of another balloon; the rest in silver.
- “The crowd always enjoy (sic) the precision of the drumbeat which dancers and the occasional rare NMPB butterfly dance to in perfect unison.” Copper drumsticks on the top of a silver drum are seen at the bottom; a copper and silver Eagle dancer, with a gold face, at the left, and a little silver butterfly at top right. Flowery forms in copper and silver, a tiny tomahawk, and a gold – feathered arrow fill in the center.
- “…Every pilgrim finds quiet solace in simple Northern NM adobe and timber…. Simplicity, piety, and holy humbleness.” Copper and silver churches, with a cactus and bloom, at bottom left, a gold sun above, and the butterfly in copper at the top right.
- “Zozobra’s Yearly Demise….” An Hispanic tradition in New Mexico, the annual burning of an effigy of Old Man Gloom, cleanses people of all the bad things of the past year, allowing the new year to start afresh. Silver and copper flames below the grotesque figure, with a gold crescent moon, and two tiny crosses – one silver, one copper. These have a double meaning: the religious symbol for Catholics, Native and otherwise, and the Native symbol of the blessings spread to all four corners of the earth.
On the back, the fun continues, as the film strip says “All Access” and “Free Pass”, both in the artist’s favorite punched-hole designs. At either end, there are overlay letters: “No Selfies” with a cartoon face with copper tongue stuck out, as part of the O, on one end. On the other, partially obliterated letters form “Cover Door”, with a squiggle of copper all that’s left where the strip was “torn”. A solid, hammered double bail completes the piece.
Scrupulous workmanship matches the artist’s imagination in this pendant of unprecedented originality. In this whimsical framework, Roland has managed to incorporate elements of all three of New Mexico’s cultures: the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Native drumming and dancing, along with adobe architecture, and Hispanic celebrations of faith and festive superstition. All in just over two inches!
Superlative clarity of tiny elements is joined with surpassing imagination and a remarkable vision, making this a museum-worthy piece that you can wear!