Contemporary Artists and Tradition

Large numbers of artists in the Southwest continue to work within traditional formats, creating squash blossom necklaces, bead necklaces, bolo ties, rings and bracelets with many design elements used in the past.  But most of the objects they create are recognizably modern with contemporary details.

Navajo artists continue to excel as silversmiths. Tufa casting—a long-used technique—is especially valued today for the texture it adds to silver. Silver overlay and new stamped designs also distinguish contemporary art from more traditional work.

The turquoise used by these artists has also changed. Large cabochons are highly valued, the color of the stone is more intense or eye-catching, and interesting matrixes are particularly desirable.

Concha belt, 2013 (58447/12, Origin/Artist: Alfred Joe (Navajo))