Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Swirls of Colors by Phyllis Coonsis

As Sandy and I strolled happily down the time-honored Native American vendor's sidewalk showcase that is part of the Santa Fe Palace of the Governors this past Saturday, I recognized the distinct jewelry of Phyllis Coonis, a Zuni artisan of note. It was then that I looked up and greeted her. Of the several dozen artists selling their work, she was the only one I recognized and that was of course through her signature jewelry. Zuni is about 4 hours away from Santa Fe by straight drive. Gallup a little less so it's not often I find one of our regional artists vending on the Plaza. This historic portal area is a must if you go to the Santa Fe. The Palace of the Governors was built in 1610 and holds the distinction of being the oldest continually occupied public building in the United States. Most of the Native American jewelry offered on the covered sidewalk leans on the souvenir quality side, but some of it, like anything by Phyllis is heirloom worthy. Phyllis's business card reads in part: Swirl of Colors, Zuni Jewelry by Phyllis Coonsis. The backside is imprinted: "Sterling Silver Jewelry set with the following Stones and Shells: Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, Malachite, Black Pen Shel, Mother of Pearl, Gold Lip Mother of Pearl, Purple, Red & Orange Spiney Oyster, Pink Mussel Shell, Gaspeite, Jet, White Clam, Abalone, & Wild Horse." Earrings pictured are $139.