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64 ORNAMENT 37.2.



MUSEUM DIRECTOR JAMES HENRY PEPPER, Fair Chair Pat Kilburn and Heard Museum Guild
President Rod Passmore at the Best of Show reception. Coeditors Carolyn L. E. Benesh and
Robert K. Liu were among the judges for this years contest.

NANIBAA BECK wearing David Gaussoin couture

and jewelry.


DEER KATSINA by Donald Sockyma.

BRACELET by Myron Panteah.



Patrick R. Benesh-Liu native arts

he Heard Museum is an excellent education on Native American art and culture,

and once a year it is a hot spot to see some superb Indian crafts for sale. Smaller
than the most widely known Indian craft show, the Santa Fe Indian Market, the
Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market nevertheless sports more than six hundred
booths of traditional and contemporary Native American craft. It is greater than a show
though, it is a complicated interplay between artist, visitor, market, and buyer. Not a little
theatrics are involved, with an air of pagaentry that is not to be missed. Both in traditional
garb and modern interpretation, there is a parade of artists and attendees dressed in their
best finery. Laughter and the greetings of old friends permeate the air, with artists and their
associates catching up on lost time.
Socializing is the sideshow, enjoyable as it is, and the main event is tantalizing in the
array of crafts to be seen. While there is a spectrum of work at the show, the jurying
selection ensures a significant number of quality artisans compose the fairs entrees, which
consists of traditional work and more modernist takes of Native American motifs. Some of
the most well-known names in the field regularly attend, such as Jesse Monongya, whose
inlay work and sheer opulence can overwhelmingly award him the title of master jeweler.
Gail Bird and Yazzie Johnson have long contributed to the development of contemporary
Native American jewelry, and they too are frequent visitors to the Heard Indian Fair.
Anthony Lovato and his family are more big names in the business.
If you do not need star attractions to draw you in though, you will be pleasantly
surprised by the hundreds of talented craftspeople rarely found outside of Native
American markets. Shane Hendrens work is a fusion between cowboy and Indian, and
he has impeccable stamping and chasing technique that winds organically around his
mokume-gane and precious turquoise. Kevin Pourier creates jewelry from buffalo
horn, sourced from the many bison farms that have cropped up across the States, as
well as traditional spoons. His powdered stone inlay produces brilliant coloration. If
clothing with Native flair is your desire, your destination lies at Jamie Okumas booth,
to find some of the most luxurious jackets and handbags with attitude at the show.


MURAL ON THE HEARD MUSEUM by Thomas Breeze Marcus, seen in foreground.

Photographs by Robert K. Liu and Patrick R. Benesh-Liu.

TAZBAH GAUSSOIN STEALS THE STAGE at the Gaussoin fashion photo shoot, during the Best of
Show reception.

The shearling wool she utilizes in her coats have both a heft
and a softness to them which is a marvel to the tactile senses.
She is also a capable beader, as her Horseshoes boots, which
were awarded first place in the Diverse Art Forms category,
can attest.
This is an exciting time for Native American art, a
situation that goes both ways. Perhaps there was no way for
the creative evolution to progress otherwise, but to all those
who sought more experimentation and contemporary feel to
Indian craft, it is coming now. More and more artists are
using modern technologies or stylistic deviations that bring a
challenging new aesthetic to Native art. At the same time, it
can be harder to find masterful examples of the old style, as
elder masters lay themselves to sleep and the younger
generation grows into their own path. Given the beauty of
both approaches, there is surely a balance that can be
achieved so the traditional methods can continue to be
passed on and the younger ways will be able to flourish.
Fortunately, that balance is easily visible at the Heard
Indian Fair. The presence of older artisans alongside youthful
and enthusiastic craftspoeple makes for an excellent
representation of both worlds. A few particularly scintillating
examples of workmanship and experimentation could be
found in the jewelry (and fashion!) of Pat Pruitt, Dawn
Wallace, Philander Begay, and the Gaussoin brothers, David
and Wayne Nez Gaussoin. Pruitt has transformed the Native
aesthetic into sleek stainless steel and titanium, essentially
modernizing the materials (recently featured in Ornament Vol.
37, No. 1, written by Heard Museum curator Diana Pardue).
Wallaces nature-inspired Inuit jewelry renders the animal
kingdom into spirits and talismans in wearable form. The
gentle quality of her designs is infused with clean lines and
abstract motifs woven into the realistic renditions of the
different species she chooses for her brooches. Begay
continues to strive for perfection in the traditional tufa-casting


technique, while seeking to imbue minor variations that

breathe humor and a fresh perspective into old designs. Lastly,
the Gaussoin brothers utilize recycled materials to find their
own voice in Indian craft, and have had a good time going hog
wild in search of new directions. David Gaussoins forays into
Native fashion, in particular, have yielded a still prototypical
but surprisingly robust vision for Native American identity.
All of these exciting developments in Native art are to be
found in the comfortable and festive environment of the
Heard Indian Fair. The 2015 dates are March 78.



BELT BUCKLE by Shane Hendren.



LAKOTA SEWING KIT of thimbles by Kevin Pourier.


TUFA-CASTING MOLDS of compacted volcanic ash at Philander

Begays booth.

67 ORNAMENT 37.2.2014