Color Recycling In Art and Life…


As I now believe that I am moving to Santa Fe on Dec. 14, after a whole life and career in NYC, I think of one of my favorite exhibits taking place at the privately run, not-for profit Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe.

What do you do when your traditional raw materials are no longer available and you are a skilled and talented craftsperson with years of experience and surrounded by continuing traditions? You reinvent your materials by recycling “junk” and possessions surrounding you.

This is what the jewelry designers at Santa Domingo Pueblo (Kewa) created between 1920’s to the 1950’s in New Mexico. They reinvented their craft and made it more “contemporary”. The Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, NM explores their jewelry in their current exhibit curated by J. Roderick Moore called – Thunderbird Jewelry of Santa Domingo Pueblo.

The scarcity of materials was caused by turquoise mines taken over by American companies, the turquoise was replaced by mosaics of inlaid and appliquéd inexpensive plastics (multicolored), bones of animals (off-white), LP’s (browns), celluloid (monotone) combs and battery casings (black). The pieces were sold as cheap trinkets for tourists visiting the Southwest. Today, they are collector’s items and worth hundreds of dollars.

3 thoughts on “Color Recycling In Art and Life…”

  1. G’Day! Blog,
    I know what you mean, Junk has been an essential part of human existence as pre-historic moments. Back then, there was not a exceptional deal for sale, as it is at current situations. All many thanks to the technological development in all the spheres! The technological blessing did not occur without having a big string of junk. As most of it has to be ultimately wrecked, there is still left a substantial quantity that we can use to set up artwork, termed Recycled Art. This consists of hunting at trash in new and ingenious tips. Aptly enough, the recycling of trash and reworking it into artwork is like discovering treasure out of nowhere.

  2. Hi Barbara I hope your settling down well after your move. There is so much inspiration around us that often as artists you simply have to take a step back and remember the roots of design, materials and application. It’s the same with many walks of life; we become so indoctrinated we often forget there is so much around us which inspiration can be drawn from.

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