Wubbers Cares: A Hopi Pu’tavi Project Update

Hopi jewelry artist Roy Talahaftewa instructs a student in a recent jewelry class.

If you haven’t heard about our initiative, Patti Bullard, owner of Wubbers, recently traveled to the Hopi Reservation in Arizona to volunteer teaching jewelry making classes with Roy Talahaftewa to local teenagers.  Started 15 years ago, the program had been on hold recently due to a lack of funding, plus the classroom needed new jewelry tools if the program were to continue.  Patti learned of the program last fall while taking a class from Roy, a Hopi jewelry artist, and knew as the owner of a jewelry tools company that she had been sent there for a reason.  Ever since then, she has made it her mission to restart the program.

Last month we asked for your donations to not only purchase tools for the workshop, but also to sponsor a tool kit for each student to keep.  These tool kits would have the items students need to learn the craft and start her or his own business if they choose.

You Cared–A LOT!

We asked, and you delivered–with just over $3,100!  Wubbers matched each donation dollar-for-dollar and to date, we have raised a grand total including matching funds of just over $6,200.  Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to learn more about the program and make a donation.

Your donations made this year’s classes a huge success, with each student being able to take home a tool kit to practice their newfound skills.  We are so pleased with the outcome of this year’s class that we are continuing to raise funds to make next year’s classes possible.  Wubbers will continue to match donations up to a total of $10,000, so each one of your dollars will go twice as far.  Donations start at just $5.00, and if you are interested in more information, please take a moment to read about this wonderful program here.

Patti writes from the Hopi Reservation:

The students are amazing and I love them all.   They are so talented and they work so hard.   They hardly take time for lunch and we have to practically turn off the lights to get them to put their tools away to quit for the day.  I will really miss them and am so honored to have the opportunity to participate in this.  All the people who donated have given a very special gift to some very deserving and creative young people!

May I regress here and talk about a time I spent with the Hopi over 20 years ago.  I had the privilege to get to know and spend time with them.   Their homeland, the Three Mesas, is their spiritual center.  It is an arid land of sun drenched mesas, which also produce dark shadows.  It is a land of stark contrast. There are no flowing rivers, or large banks of trees. Crops are planted in gardens that look like small waffles, as to catch and hold whatever moisture should come.   The area is lacking many natural resources, yet during my stay in Hopiland, I saw joy and love, a peace among the people that I didn’t see in my own culture.  It was a deeply moving experience for me.  I never wanted to leave.

I made friends with some of the teenagers, and purchased their art.  Art is so interwoven within the Hopi culture, it is the way they live their lives and art is life. The Hopi started making silver jewelry around 1905.  Just think of the tools that were available…a gasoline blowtorch for soldering, every tool they needed, they had to make.  Silver coins were melted down and poured into ingots, there was no going to the supply store and purchasing a sheet of 20 gauge. Around the 1930’s the Hopi started their technique of overlay, which is still so traditional in their work today.

I wonder how many of us would have continued our path in jewelry if we had such hardships, but art is their life, and they make some of the most beautiful art I have ever seen. To see their silversmithing tradition continued, and to see how you and Wubbers have and continue to teach and provide for these teenagers brings me such joy. I personally thank you for your contributions and please continue to contribute and do what you can.  Thank you.

Lexi Erickson, President of Wubbers University, is an internationally-known artist and teacher based in Denver, CO.  

Posted in Patti's Jewelry Travels, Wubbers Cares
One comment on “Wubbers Cares: A Hopi Pu’tavi Project Update
  1. Sandi says:

    What a great story and project! I, too, have had an appreciation of Hopi jewelry and culture for the last 40 years. I still have pieces from my childhood and now from when I make my own trips there. I’m happy to hear about your experience and admire your initiative to help!

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