Navajo Cultural Arts Certificate, Dual Credit Student, Silversmith
My name is Tavian and I am a student at Navajo Pine High School. I am also a silversmithing student at Diné College as part of the Dual Credit Program. That means that I take college credit courses while completing my high school degree. This is my 4th silversmithing class here at the Diné College and my 3rd class with my instructor, Teddy Draper, Jr. This semester was very challenging, informative, and fun! I learned so much and am excited for this coming summer because I’m thinking of all the projects I’ll make.
But enough of my general thoughts - let's take a look at my CA408: Intermediate Silversmithing projects - all done online - all done while I was trying to stay a top of my high school work - all done during a pandemic :)
The fourth project I had issues - actually major issues - it was a tufa cast project. After heating up the silver, pouring it continuously. The silver would either fill up and overflow or it would pour but still not fill the design to the bottom. After carving the design again, creating more vents - the tufa cracked. I researched and reached out to Teddy, we figured it out, so I carved the design again. But I guess this project was just not meant to be for now....I accidentally bumped it off the table and it broke in half. This was so infuriating; I couldn’t finish the project as the situation worsened. Like I said before - sometimes the silver makes the final decisions and sometimes, you don't like silver's decisions.
But silver not pouring the way I wanted was not a waste- it was pouring the way I needed. I needed to self reflect. Being a high school student and a college student is exciting but it is a challenge and you have to be willing to put in the extra work. Typically, I’m really good at managing my responsibilities: sports (football, basketball, and baseball), high school assignments, and silversmithing. But this semester was particularly rough and I started falling behind what when I lost three relatives in one week - it was almost impossible for me to forget that we were in a pandemic, even sitting behind my silversmithing desk. I decided to make my family a priority. I knew I was going to fall behind but family comes first. I am not the type of person to make excuses, I like to be held accountable, and I held myself accountable for my late work.
The NCAP team did hold me accountable - but in a family way. They found me! They pulled me back into activities like the Spring Navajo Cultural Arts Virtual Exhibit hosted by the Native American Arts Magazine Online. Can you believe it? My work featured online! They pushed me to get back into contact with my instructor and they got me to catch up the best I could.
I remember when I first started silversmithing, Teddy told me, “Move at your own pace, put in a lot of effort, and don’t be LAME. Make something nice you’ll be proud of”. I’ve always kept that in mind and did my best this semester to not be lame and to be proud of myself. I’m glad I participated in silversmithing classes, it helped me in many ways. I appreciate the art and can’t wait for summer to make more awesome jewelry!