Emerging Artisan, Silversmith, NCAC 16/17
Hello! My name is Jerome Nez and I am a student at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona. My clans are Salt Water (Todik’ozhi), born for the Salt People clan (Ashiihnli). My maternal Grandfather is of the Red Running into the Water clan (Tachiinii clan), and My Nalii are of the Honey Combed Rock (Tse’njikini clan). I am a community member of Whippoorwill, Arizona (Navajo Nation). These are my roots and who I am. Although I am carpenter by trade, I decided to add to my bag of tricks through my enrollment with the Navajo Cultural Arts Certificate Program. I am part of the 2016/17 Silversmithing Cohort, preparing for graduation this May! Thus far it has been a great experience and rewarding to be part of NCAP.
Along the way we have made some stops. One place we visited was the Gallup Trading Company. Not only does it have a lot of neat things to buy that are completely old school but also, the building structure of the shop is old-styled and pretty cool in itself. In addition to the jewelry, Gallup Trading Company sells stones. The quantity and quality of turquoise were impressive and the friendly people working there made for a nice, calm stop. We purchase a few stones and then continued our trip but not before our delicious stopover at Diné Grill to get our Mutton and Taco fix.
The next day we started our two day workshop time at Meltdown Studio! We learned, created, laughed, and met some wonderful people. Those couple of days of jewelry making has tied us all together, helping us to form bonds of respect and admiration. While at the studio, Lauren showed us techniques in stamping, hammering, bead making, bezel forming, wire bending, torch usage and overall tips that we could apply to our daily silversmithing practices. We had almost unlimited access to everything in the studio and we could make as much jewelry as we wanted with what was provided - If we only had more time! At Meltdown
What a huge honor it is to be part of NCAP and the teachings that I have learned and experience have helped me to grow. I have noticed that many techniques in Silversmithing seem too advanced and impossible to do at first. But with examination, study and practive, I know it can be done and it is possible. The first step you need is a positive attitude. That positivity will brush off on everything, although a lot of practice is still required. Places like NCAP and Meltdown Studio are excellent starting points.
One piece of advice from me: If you want to add a little bling to your life, you can first practice making jewelry with inexpensive pieces, so that you can get the hang of it. This way you don’t end up ruining your precious stones and metals. That is what I did – and now I am moving on from copper and brass to silvers and stones. You can stop by the 2017 Navajo Cultural Arts Museum Exhibit from April 17-21 to see some of my silverwork! And don't forget to vote on your favorite piece for the community choice award ;)