Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eddie & Johnathan Beyuka

The late Eddie Beyuka started producing jewelry in 1956, at first working with his wife Madeline who did the inlay to his silverwork. After separation, Eddie began doing both the silver and lapidary work. He was honored as a contemporary master in the ARIZONA HIGHWAYS magazine Hall of Fame in August of 1974. The entire inside back cover was devoted to showing 7 of his distinctive kachina creations designed primarily to be used as a bolo tie, but also fitted with a small stand for stand alone exhibition. Eddie's son Jonathan has carried on his Father’s work. Jonathan’s kachina bolo ties are readily available at many of the jewelry outlets here in Gallup. I had never seen one of Eddie’s kachina bolos for sale, but I had seen them in museums and of course in nearly all the books that deal with Southwest Native American jewelry. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to view a collection of the Father’s work first hand and even do side-by-side comparisons with the work of his son. I agree with others that the son’s craftsmanship is somewhat better than that of Father’s. Eddie (who’s work currently sells for as much as 10 fold than that of his son’s work) deserves historical artistic honor a notch above the son for having pioneered this unique bolo jewelry. The piece you see above is a multi-stone Hopi Snake Dancer set in sterling silver by son Jonathan. It measures approximately 3 3/8 x 2 inches. Cost = $249. Click on image for a more detailed view.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bev Etsate's Grand Ram Dancer Kachina Bolo Tie

Here is a fine example of a very prominent bolo tie again showing stone on stone in a silver casing. You will find no tortoise shell in this newly minted master work, the black background is Acoma Jet, the other stones, include white and yellow tipped mother-of-pearl, sleeping beauty turquoise, and red coral. It's hard to see in this image but this Ram Kachina has a nifty sterling silver wrist adornment compete with tiny cabochons of turquoise and red coral. The main piece measures 5 3/4 by 2 5/8 inches. You might be more comfortable with this work on shelf display, but it certainly shouts to be worn on special occasions, particularly here in the heart of bolo tie country where the bolo has been declared the office necktie of both Arizona and New Mexico. The cost of this bolo is $1500. A 1970's vintage piece by her Mother and Father will cost at least twice as much if you can find one.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Vintage Zuni Shalako Bolo Tie

I submitted an entry to this blog on the relatively unique work of three dimensional inlay specialist Bev Etsate a couple of months ago. Bev learned the craft from her famous parents. I recently had the opportunity to see a stellar example of her parent's work in a museum case at a showing of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe. I was impressed and began to long for a side-by-side comparison of work done by their talented and obviously well trained daughter. It was a challenge to find vintage work of the parent's for sale, but I finally located a few pieces, the most impressive is the Shalako Kachina shown above. The Zuni Shalako is a diety that comes to Zuni every year near the Winter solstice to bring blessings of fertility, long life and prosperity to Zuni. I also found a similarly sized Ram Dancer Kachina bolo tie by Beverly that I plan to feature on my next blog entry. On careful inspection I did find what a few others have noted, e.g. the parent's work is slightly more refined. Stone upon stone inlay set in silver definitely belongs in the historical and contemporary Zuni domains of this family. Any book showing examples of Zuni jewelry will feature either the work of the parents or daughter. The oval center piece measures 5 x 2 1/4 inches. This piece was made prior to 1975 and contains tortoise shell which is no longer legal. Today's maket value is approximately $2800.00.