This award-winning jeweler’s “overnight success” took ten years!
Still, a fairly fast move from construction worker to doing (exquisite) prize-winning beadwork, then to segue into jewelry which wins awards at Santa Fe Indian Market, as well. Oh, and making paintings, along the way.
A favorite of his is tufa casting metal, and this fascinating cuff is an example of his effortless competence with this tricky technique.
Monty’s elegant tufa casting results in a smooth, densely grained surface.
The raised motifs were carved out from the tufa, a block of crumbly, naturally compressed volcanic sand, as was the background.
Great skill is needed, to achieve the thread-like, narrow and delicate elements of this design.
Water is the most precious resource out on the desert lands of the Navajo, and the design is in appreciation of this scarce treasure.
Water symbols abound in many, many pieces of Native art, from jewelry to pottery, paintings, sculpture, and more.
There are several refined water signs on this handsome cuff: sinuous lines represent flowing water, as in streams; dots represent raindrops or just drops of water; a zig-zag line refers to lightning; a row of triangular forms symbolizes waves, and the parallel lines, rainfall.
The central motif looks like a sea creature or plant, swimming across the sea bottom, tendrils floating gracefully behind it.
A splendid, rather rare, natural Apache Blue turquoise forms its head.
Found in Nevada, the mine is small, so the stone is unusual and highly desirable.
Its intense blue color is striking and makes up for the smaller size of the turquoise.
Just below the head, an elegantly shaped cross form represents the four corners of the earth.
The blessings of water are meant to flow to the ends of the earth, for everyone’s benefit.
With brightly polished elements and edges against the grainy texture of the base, the design is full of serpentine movement highlighted by that splendid blue turquoise.
The mark of this artist is that whatever medium he works in – beadwork, painting, or jewelry – the result is spectacular and meticulously achieved.