Monday, March 10, 2008

The Humor of Clarence & Russell Lee

The Navajo psyche characteristically resonates with good humor, but it is rare for it to be expressed in their jewelry. I was most impressed and amused this past summer when I ran across the Lee's distinctive booth at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market. Unfortunately, I was out of inventory money that day, but I left determined to follow-up in the months ahead. Clarence and Russell are a father-son team who travel the country selling their work throughout the nation, mostly at art shows. They are widely represented in museums and their award list now numbers 8 full pages. Last week I sat with Russell and his Lady at my kitchen table and poured over their wide selection of jewelry. Russell said to me, "Jewelry making is all we do. During the day we make jewelry. At night we dream jewelry." Note the goat which is modeled after a pet that once roamed their reservation property eating indiscriminately, everything from a stuffed teddy bear to a can of beans. The Russell's great smithing skill is evident in all their work. Even though the Lee's live within an hour's drive of Gallup, they don't sell to the dealers here. Ah, but now Wilford's is the exception. I am honored to promote the Lee's unique brand of story and humor laced in phenomenally well crafted silver.