My beloved Nimisenh (elder sister) Aji has a birthday coming up on October 20, so in her honor, my brother Wings, her husband, is having a 20% off birthday sale through the 20th! That's 20% off everything in the gallery, including Wings' silver artwork and all the artwork they carry by other Native American artists, which takes many forms. They have many different kinds of drums; katsinam (kachinas); paintings; sculptures; cholla keychains; baby moccasins; miniature medicine wheels for your home, vehicle, cabin, or elsewhere; an absolutely amazing bow and arrow set; jewelry by other artists; and a whole bunch more. I'll highlight just a bit of it here. Much, much more can be found at the gallery's website, and there's more even than that; if you're interested in a specific type of item and don't see what you're looking for, ask here. Every single thing that isn't a special-order piece is 20% off plus shipping, handling, and insurance (abbreviated s/h/i).
I'll start off here with my favorite sculpture by Taos Pueblo master carver Ned Archuleta. Charles and I have a piece by him called "Spirit Wind" on our household altar, anchoring East, and we just gave a magnificent sculpture of the head, neck and mane of a running horse to another member of our family, who absolutely loves it. Ned Archuleta is probably my favorite carver who's not from a Pacific Northwest tradition, and that's saying a lot, and this is my favorite piece by him. If I had the funds, this would be in my living room, that's how much I love it.
Tiwa Messengers by Ned Archuleta
This piece is named "Tiwa Messengers" and shows two of the sacred messengers of the Tiwa people, the people of Taos Pueblo, communicating with a Tiwa man. To me (not speaking for the sculptor) it looks like Bear is grounding him, keeping his feet and part of his awareness on the Earth, while Eagle carries his spirit and its message upward. This sculpture is carved from a single piece of pink alabaster and set on a wood base, but with the greyness of this particular piece of stone, it looks more like marble with a dark red matrix. This is what I call a dramatic sculpture and it will capture eyes from across the room. Normally $525, for this sale it's $420
plus s/h/i; the 20% off makes a huge difference when the initial price point is in this range. Having received two sculptures, I can tell you that due to size, weight, and the reinforcement required when shipping sculptures, extra handling charges will apply, and they will be worth it. Wait until you see how it's packed!
Comparing it to the drum in the background at the right, this is a sizable work. That particular drum, a tall powwow-style drum, was a birthday gift to my husband Charles and it's about 26" tall. The sculpture's base hits a bit more than midway down the height of the drum and its top sticks up several inches above the top of the drum, so this is something that will serve as a focal point in a room. As I said, it will draw eyes.
Lee Lujan powwow-style drum
Speaking of drums, here's one by the same maker who made Charles's tall powwow-style drum, Taos Pueblo's own Lee Lujan. This is a drum with an even more impressive voice than Charles's drum, and that says a lot. Aji says you have to hear this one to believe it. Its call is deep, resonant as all get-out, distinctive even in a drum circle (for which it is made), and judging from its diameter, it should be playable by more than one drummer at a time. Lee Lujan makes his drums the traditional way, by hollowing out a tree trunk and stretching hides over it. There are no fitted pieces on his drums and there is no way to get a sound like this out of a drum made any other way. He made the painted traditional beater that is included with the drum as well, and makes a loop of sinew to hold the beater just as you see it in the picture. This drum is usually $795, but for this sale, it's down to just $636
plus s/h/i. As you can imagine, a massive drum made out of a hollowed-out tree trunk is heavy, and extra handling and shipping charges will be required.
Cholla cactus keychains by Wings' younger sister
These keychains are made by Wings' younger sister from dried cholla cactus. They're wrapped in deerhide, decorated with beads of different colors, and most are accented by a turquoise nugget or two. The cactus has been defanged, so you needn't worry for your fingers, although something that would leave you unharmed and bite someone trying to get into your pocket or bag would be nice, wouldn't it? These pretty and unusual little keychains are normally $22, but for this sale you can take $4 off and pay only $18
plus (minimal) s/h/i. (OK, this is a little less than 20% off. I'm rounding up from $17.60 to keep it in whole dollars. Aji will hopefully drop by and let me know if this is wrong.) You likely won't run into anyone else carrying anything similar, so if you're looking for something lovely and unique to hold your keys, here you go.
Bear with medicine bundle sculpture by Mark Swazo-Hinds
This is the biggest-ticket item in the diary by a long shot. This medicine bear sculpture by Mark Swazo-Hinds (I apologize for not remembering what tribe or tribes he's from) is carved from a piece of solid sandstone, and it is large and expensive. The medicine bundle you see on the bear's back is a Swazo-Hinds signature feature. The value of the medicine bundle alone is incredible. It contains brilliant macaw feathers, shells, large pieces of turquoise, and ancient pottery sherds. It's for this sort of thing that the sale price makes the biggest difference: This outstanding sculpture is normally $2500, but until the end of October 20, it's $2000
plus s/h/i, a whole $500 off. Half a thousand off
- just wow. This is large, heavy, and hard to pack, so there will be extra s/h/i charges.
Butterfly Katsina by Josh Aragon
Corn Katsina by Josh Aragon
The top photo is of Butterfly Katsina (kachina) by Josh Aragon. Mr. Aragon is a Hopi katsina carver and painter who makes them the traditional way, out of a single piece of carved cottonwood root. There are no joined pieces here, just the one piece of cottonwood root; the feather Butterfly Katsina holds and the wings projecting from the katsina's back are all part of the same piece of cottonwood root, a seamless work. The brilliantly colored painting is also typical of Mr. Aragon's work; it's just plain gorgeous. I don't know much at all about katsinam so I can't say anything about Butterfly Katsina or any other katsina other than to admire the artistic work and beauty. Butterfly Katsina normally sells for $585 but is priced at $468
plus s/h/i through October 20.
The bottom photo is Corn Katsina by Mr. Aragon. Like Butterfly Katsina, Corn Katsina is carved the traditional way and even more brilliantly painted. He arises from an ear of yellow corn in the front and sacred Hopi blue corn in the back. Like Butterfly Katsina, Corn Katsina's normal price is $585, but he can come to you for $468 plus s/h/i. I am sorry I don't know more about katsinam from an accurate (Native American) source. I'd love to be able to tell you more about these two. Aren't they just incredible?
Now that you've had a chance to enjoy some of the work by other artists that Wings carries in the gallery, let's get to some of his own work. Wings' art has only been on sale once ever before, and that was only for a week. This is a terrific chance to get some of your winter holiday shopping, if you do that, out of the way early, and get a terrific bargain at the same time. It's also a terrific chance to pick up something particularly special for yourself. Here's a good example:
The World On Her Back by Wings
To the continent's First Peoples, Grandmother Turtle is a revered figure. Here she is in sterling silver holding the world on her back in the form of an ancient pottery sherd. Hand stamped symbols adorn her body: plant symbols, water symbols, and earth symbols, while arrows grace her feet and the bail from which she's suspended. She hangs from an included necklace of trade beads in black with accents of blue and red. Normally $975, you can save nearly $20
0 during this sale and get this magnificent Wings necklace for $780
Kiva Sky bracelet by Wings
Here's a lovely and unusual cuff bracelet by Wings. Not only is the cuff hand stamped in kiva patterns, the outside is cut in kiva steps patterns as well. The whole is graced with a lovely sky-blue square turquoise cabochon, and can be yours for $340
plus s/h/i through October 20. It normally sells for $425.
Taos Light by Wings
"Taos Light" by Wings features a wonderful rutilated quartz set in a sterling setting that reveals from both the front, via a twistwork surround on the sterling silver bezel, and from the rear, via a hand-cut ajouré diamond, letting the golden light flow through the stone to your skin. Rutilated quartz is a wonderful stone and this piece is one that will take someone's breath away. Normally priced at $325, it's on sale at 20% off for $260
The Way of the Sun concha-style belt buckle by Wings
This domed and scalloped choncha-style belt buckle features arrowheads circling clockwise marking the path of the sun, and hand-stamped sunrise symbols edging the buckle, which features a natural green turquoise at its center. This buckle is priced at $525, but is on sale for over $100 less at $420
Blue Winds bracelet by Wings
This hand-twisted bracelet of thick sterling silver is crowned with a brilliant blue turquoise and is called Blue Winds for the breezes that come to mind when one sees it. Look at how gracefully it weaves and bends like the reeds that dance before the slightest breath of wind! Regularly priced at $425, this bracelet is yours for $340
while the sale is on.
Horsetail Sky necklace by Wings
This lovely necklace features a hand-stamped Morning Star pattern on either side of this dual-sided miniature flask necklace, with a tiny purple amethyst cabochon at its center. Hand stamped traditional symbols ring the outside, and it sports two horsehair tassels with hair donated by Aji and Wings' own horses. This lovely miniature flask sits on a white buckskin thong that fits the bail exactly. It too is normally $425 and can come home to you for $340
Whew! There's a lot to talk about at this sale, and I haven't even half gotten started yet. I'll try to update with some more pieces, as there are many, many, many more both from Wings and from other Native American artists to show you, but the best place to see for yourself is to go to my brother Wings' website. Everything there is priced at the regular price. Take 20% off with a calculator to find the price through October 20 only.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief taste of what's available at the sale, and I'll see you in the comments.