Mary Tafoya Necklace of Mosaic Inlay Flower Pendants
Mary Tafoya grew up at what we used to know as Santo Domingo Pueblo but what we now call Kewa Pueblo. As a child, Mary Tafoya learned to make jewelry by helping her parents, Frank and Anita Coriz, make the “depression era” necklaces that came out of then Santo Domingo during the Great Depression when times were so tough that jewelry materials were difficult find. Today, Mary Tafoya’s jewelry still shows the influence of her earliest work; she still creatively cuts and arranges materials to form a design on her jewelry. This time, though, the materials are natural items like shells, turquoise, coral, and pipestone.
This is one of Mary Tafoya's statement necklaces, and it will wow you with its bright colors and bold mosaic inlay design. Unlike anything else out there, the necklace has five pendants that Mary has cut and shaped by hand out of shell and stone. Each pendant is inlaid on serpentine, which is her trademark. Since Mary never repeats the same exact design, this necklace is entirely unique in its graphic pattern.
The renowned Native American art dealer, collector and scholar Martha Hopkins Struever was entirely impressed with Mary Tafoya's work, and she once said the following: "On a recent visit with Mary Tafoya at her home, I was struck by just how talented Mary really is. Standing in Mary’s workshop among buckets of large shells, I realized that Mary is really like a graphic designer – she’s hand cutting and shaping these shells and other stones to create geometric shapes like circles and squares that will eventually become bold jewelry designs. I’m so impressed that what she’s doing is entirely her own concept – it isn’t derivative of anyone else. I’m also amazed that she’s able to keep her prices very modest considering that everything is handmade and original. You would think that after 35 years in the business, I would have seen it all, but artists like Mary L. Tafoya still surprise me with their skill and originality". That is quite the strong endorsement!
This striking Mary Tafoya necklace measures 17 1/4" from end to end. Each pendant is about 1 3/4" long. Signed and dated on the reverse.