Patti’s Travels: Hopi Jewelry

Patti Bullard, a lifelong artist, is the owner and creator of Wubbers Pliers and founder of Wubbers University.  When not designing new jewelry making tools, she can be found attending jewelry workshops around the country.

Recently I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to study Native American jewelry making techniques with Roy Talahaftewa.  I planned it to coincide with the Hopi Festival, held at the First Mesa in Arizona.  The dancers were amazing, the food was fantastic, and shopping at the Hopi Arts was delightful.  Thank you so much to Roy and Becky Talahaftewa for hosting me that week.  I loved getting to meet Roy and Becky’s families.

Roy Talahaftewa

I consider my workshops with Roy to be at the top of my list for “Best Learning Experiences.” I came away with tons of new knowledge and inspiration.

An azurite-malachite pendant I made in my first workshop with Roy.

After the festival, I spent the week taking a workshop from Roy at his gallery in Hopi.

While I was working in Roy’s workshop that is connected to his gallery, visitors from Canada, South America, France, and other international countries stopped in.  

Also, a number of artists stopped by to sell their work to Roy–including Hopi baskets, silver jewelry, hand woven blankets, and prints.  I couldn’t resist this Butterfly Maiden Kachina Doll.

Earlier this year in June, I took Roy’s class in Idyllwild, California, and began learning Tufa Casting. It is a fascinating process using a lightweight, easy to carve stone called Tufa. Usually a block is cut in half and one side is carved into a design or pattern.  After putting the two halves back together, the metal is cast into the void created by the carving.

Carved Tufa stone and a casting with the metal from the air vents still attached.

Watch Roy creating a cast:

I was able to continue working on my carving skills during my week with Roy, and I cast sheet that was used for the construction of the Butterfly of Blue Oasis Cuff.  This is my first experience with gold, and I am excited to continue learning more about working with it.

Butterfly Cuff

Butterfly Cuff-2

Roy and I plan to teach a jewelry workshop on overlay for Hopi youth (high school students) next June.  Roy has taught these workshops for a long time, and several years ago, he partnered with the Hopi Pu’tavi Project Inc., a youth and community development Non-Profit Organization on the Hopi Reservation.  Their mission statement is:  “To make available training, education, and business opportunities to the Hopi People, particularly youth, on the Hopi Reservation, to enhance the quality of life and culture.”

We also plan to bring in a counselor from a local college and a couple of artists to talk about their careers and education.  I am writing a grant application, will be raising funds through Wubbers U, and Wubbers will help sponsor this event, providing funds, tools, and materials.
Also, Roy plans to host one or two workshops a year at his gallery, so if you are interested just let me know and I will keep you posted (AFTER I sign up, haha!).  I can’t say enough nice things about Roy and Becky’s hospitality.  I am so thankful for this amazing experience!
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Posted in Patti's Jewelry Travels
2 comments on “Patti’s Travels: Hopi Jewelry
  1. SADIE JONES says:

    BEAUTIFUL WORK YOU MADE THE JEWERLY WHILE ROY SHOW YOU HOW TO DO IT.
    WISH I WAS THERE AND I AM FROM CALGARY ALBERTA CANADA
    BROUGHT MOST OF THE TOOLS AND USE IT ALOTS.THANKS.
    HAVE A WONDERFUL HOIDAY THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS.
    Sadie jONES

  2. Connie says:

    Great presentation. In our class for silversmithing, we do lost wax casting, broomstick casting, ice water casting and use cuttlefish for our molds. Our teacher has taught us how to develop skills we do not even knew we had.

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