Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hopi--Warrior Mouse

Sandy and I set out for Hopi-land early this morning as I had long planned, but I elevated the trip to urgent status after I was stung on realizing that two belt buckles I purchased last week in Zuni were Navajo rather than Hopi. What joy we had today, the field trip was like a day in Heaven. The high desert landscape was blanketed with snow and the air was crisp and cool, but t'was our blissful immersion in fine Hopi jewelry that really made our day. It is surprising to me that with Gallup, the Mecca for Native American jewelry, and the Hopi Reservation a mere two hours drive apart, that Hopi work is so hard to find here. The stories I've been told about Hopi's not wholesaling during Winter and their scarcity of art work due runs on supplies by the Japanese simply turned out to be FALSE. Hopi work is comparatively more expensive, but still very reasonably priced, I think, given the quality. The bulk of Hopi jewelry work involves sterling silver overlay technique. Stone work among the Hopi is much less common than what one sees with Navajo and Zuni jewelry. I bought liberally; just couldn't stop really. The pendant piece I'm featuring here fascinated me the most. It has nothing to do with Mighty Mouse or any Disney character; instead, it was born of Hopi legend. The Warrior Mouse here saved a village from the Hawk. Hopi artist Charleston (Charlie) Lewis uses no patterns, thus each of his pieces are original art. Silversmithing is his livelihood and allows him to "feel free to express myself and it benefits my whole family and Hopi". He uses the cloud and corn for his hallmark. This is a fabulous piece that I'll hate to see go.