Wednesday, February 29, 2012


After we spent the night in Patagonia (Arizona, not Argentina) at a hotel that used to host John Wayne when he was in the area to film movies, we went on to Tubac and their annual Festival of Arts.

I had gone with the hope of finding lots and lots of Native American and Southwestern crafts on display. However, as this was a juried show it was a mixture of crafts from all over the US. In fact, one of the first booths that we visited was a man from New York who had also displayed his marquetry designs at the Craftsmens' Classic in Greensboro at Christmas.

I was a little disheartened because I was looking for something that specifically was Southwestern or Native American, not an item that I could pick up back home. And few of the booths had what I was searching for. So I started to wander in the shops there in the village in search of that one piece of jewelry to take back home.

Tubac may tout itself as an artisans center, but frankly most of the shops are tourist traps. Yes, they had Native American jewelry, but I was of the suspicion that the pieces were actually made in the Phillippines where a lot of so-called Indian jewelry comes from.

I finally went into a newish store that didn't seem quite so touristy and the shop owner seemed quite knowledgeable about his wares. I browsed through the collections of various Hopi, Navajo and Zuni pieces (most of which were quite out of my price range) until this ring caught my eye:

Sorry about the quality of the photo. I took it on the windowsill in the kitchen with overhead lighting. Yucky.

The ring is a silver overlay of the symbol for the Hopi Parrot Clan. It is actually made in two pieces - the bottom oxidized silver with the top a cut-out design. It is then soldered together to create this type of jewelry.

I then met up with my mother and aunt to eat lunch at Elvira's, a famous restaurant which used to be in Nogales, Mexico until the crime and drug gangs forced it to move north. Over lunch, they admired the ring while I told them the story of how I found it. Towards the end of the lunch, my aunt pulled out a business card that a friend in Scottsdale had given her so that she could visit a friend of his' brand new shop there in Tubac. Seems that the friend of her friend was a very famous Native American jewelry store owner in Wyoming who decided to move his operations to Tubac. When she showed me the card, I reached into my purse to pull out . . . the very same card but with the Tubac address as that was the man who sold me my ring.

*Gyazru is the name for the Parrot Clan in Hopi.


Aunt Jane's Attic said...

What a gorgeous ring and a lovely story of how you came about it, I too would have been a bit miffed if all the crafts came from all over, I would expect it to be regional. Julie xxx

Karen said...

Julie: I really love this ring and the fact that we are all more closely connected than we realize.