Visitors loved getting to know Shane and hearing more about his creative process. A first-generation jeweler from an artistically inclined family, he sources all his turquoise from the US and does his engraving by hand. His meticulous attention to symmetry is evident in his work.
Jed Foutz’s lecture was a big hit as well. We learned about his fascinating family history working within the Navajo reservation for five generations. He spoke about the personal relationships that he has developed with top Navajo weavers, and expressed the nuances of the trader and artist relationship, reflecting on how the symbiotic system has developed over the years. His father, Ed, had a different style of selling and trade, while Jed has come into his own in how he conducts business.
Jed told a touching story about the special moment he shared with his friend Anita Tsosie when she realized her weaving won Best of Show at Indian Market in 2004. He encouraged Anita, who typically devoted an entire year to complete one weaving to immediately sell, to enter her work into the juried show. Reluctantly, she entered her weaving, and when she walked into the awards ceremony and discovered her piece covered in celebratory ribbons, she was overcome with emotion. She then sold the piece to a couple for more than double what she originally had humbly thought she could charge for her work. Jed reflected on how proud he was for her to know the value and respect people felt for her artistry.
Both Jed and Shane touched upon how this is a very transitional time period in which artists and historians are currently redefining how we look at art originating in Native American culture. With an already rich and interesting history, it is very exciting to look forward to what will come in the future.