The Best American Indian Arts in the World

Post by Vera

Jewelry collectors at Santa Fe Indian Market

Jewelry Collectors

Many collectors of American Indian Art stick with just ONE type of craft or art. When I signed copies of Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist in Flagstaff at Jan Musial’s home, a group of collectors who were touring the Southwest swarmed into Jan’s sales room.  Some went straight to the baskets, some wanted jewelry, some pottery. But most were specialists in only one thing.

Specialists probably save a lot of time at the Santa Fe Indian Market, with its 1100 artists.  I on the other hand, had to wander through the maze of booths gawking at everything.  Instead of being a collector, I am an appreciator. As such, I don’t have to develop expertise in one form of art. Instead I know a little about a lot of things, and as they say, “I know what I like.”

Pottery by a 14-yr-old Zuni boy

I bought this piece of pottery by a 14-year old Zuni boy, Anderson Jamie Peynetsa, Jr.

When you attend Indian Art shows, even if it is only one or two once or twice a year, you begin to notice trends that sweep through. At this year’s Santa Fe Indian Market, I noticed two such trends that are growing in popularity.

Many artists are drawing and painting on ledger paper. That idea got its start in Oklahoma where plains Indians first learned to paint on paper, and the only paper available was ledger paper, used for bookkeeping. I saw at least four artists displaying art on ledger paper in Santa Fe, but I particularly liked Lauren Good Day Frank. Take a look at her website and see what she does. Instead of using everyday ledger paper, she finds antique ledgers with actual stories or records on them, and paints on top of the old numbers. She also paints women and children instead of the traditional stories of men and battles.

The second trend that seems to be spreading in popularity is the use of sparkly mica in pottery. This is not necessarily a new material to potters, but seemed to me to be more widely shown this year.

Among the many pictures I took of works of art, for some reason, I have no examples of either ledger painting OR sparkly pottery. I hope you will enjoy what I do have to share.

A simple design of the famous black pottery of San Ildefonso

A simple design of the famous black pottery of San Ildefonso pioneered by Maria Martinez

Innovative Bead Work

Orlando Dugi - Innovative Bead Work --headdresses and purses with fur

Hopi Glass Blower

A departure from kachina carving by Hopi artists--glass blowing of corn maidens. Displaying his wares is Bryson Nequatewa of Hotevilla Glassworks started by Ramson Lomatewama

Linda Tafoya Sanchez, potter of San Ildefonso

Linda Tafoya Sanchez, daughter of famed Margaret Tafoya, potter of San Ildefonso

Alaskan Basket Maker materials

Alaskan Basket Maker materials

Alaska carving

Alaska carving

Corn Beads

Corn Beads

Artist weaving AlaskanTlingit tapestry from the back

Artist weaving AlaskanTlingit tapestry from the back

Tlingit Tapestry from the front

Tlingit Tapestry from the front

Colorful contemporary  pottery

Colorful contemporary pottery

See tips for enjoying Indian market, and more photos at A Traveler’s Library.

Were you there? Did you buy something? Tell us about it? If you were not there, which type of art would you have been drawn to? (Photographs by Ken Badertscher and Vera Marie Badertscher. All rights reserved.)

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