Native Jewelry Maker- Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird Santo Domingo/Laguna>
Their thematic belts are derived from experiences or
reflect designs that have had an impact on them. In 1981,
Bird and Johnson won Best of Show for such a belt at the
Santa Fe Indian Market held annually in August. In 1988,
they honored scholar Kate Peck Kent's research of Pueblo
textile designs by creating a belt inspired by the textiles;
in 1992, for an auction benefiting the Santa Fe Children's
Museum, they created a child's belt with designs derived
from animal crackers. Their belt for the 1996 Santa Fe
Indian Market was based on circus animal designs observed
on a basket.
Bird and Johnson's 1995 belt was one they had planned for some time but had not completed. It was a Route
66/Tourism belt, reflecting not only the tourist shops that dot the highways from Tucumcari, New Mexico, to
Flagstaff, Arizona, but also some designs from early tourist jewelry. As with their other creations, the stones
were essential to the overall design. A yellow and white jasper with dendrites symbolizes lightening striking a
petroglyph figure with outstretched hands; an Owyhee jasper recalls the vast New Mexico landscape, with layers
of brown resembling plains and mesas below a gray-green horizon, juxtaposed with intricately stamped, overlay
The couple's work is characterized by clean, crisp, precise execution and by the inclusion of unusual stones,
baroque pearls, opals, jaspers, dinosaur bones and other exotic materials drawn from around the world. For their
earrings, belts, buckles and pins, the stones are selected carefully according to color and texture and become an
intricate part of the composition. Copyright 2012
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Wright, B. Hallmarks of the Southwest. 2000.