Sunday, February 3, 2008

Clayton Tom is Back & Working with Calvin Once Again

Calvin Begay and Clayton Tom make a powerfully creative jewel duo. They are both tops in their repective fields, Calvin as silversmith and Clayon as a micro-inlayer. I posted a piece on my 11/09/07 blog entry stating that the team had split, but they are back under the same roof once again and working together on unique pieces such as the one shown here. Calvin did the silver work all by hand. It appears to be a cast piece, but in fact, it was done by silver overlay. Calvin demonstrated to me on Friday his technique for cutting out the silver. Calvin is soft spoken, but I still heard him fairly well over the din of his county western music. Calvin's a real cowboy, I note that he wears a good size rodeo buckle. Clayton works in a backroom where he grinds away at the tiny pieces of stones on his wheel to get them to fit into their tiny alloted spaces in the silver. I asked him about his design on this piece whereupon he pulled down a shred of ratty, corrigated cardbord from above his work station and showed me the inception drawing. From the conversation, I can be certain he is a very traditional Navajo. He said he are not supposed to do Yei-be-Chai image work in the winter, but he does. He went on to describe the physical consequences of violating this taboo. I was glad to hear that said consequences weighed in on the minor ailment scale. He told me much more, but between the grinding wheel and the loud rock music, I did not hear much of what he had to say.