Andrew Pacheco believes there is no limit to creativity. To him, what an artist truly needs to succeed is to have the patience and the willingness to learn and to take the punches as they go along. It’s a philosophy that’s reflected in his own artistic journey.
Andrew grew up watching his parents make art. His father, a member of Santo Domingo Pueblo, created jewelry and his mother, who is a member of the Yakima Nation, is a potter and does beadwork. His parents met in San Francisco, but his mother didn’t want her children to grow up in the city. So, the family moved to Santo Domingo.
It was there Andrew watched his father every morning in his shop. Around the age of ten, his father started teaching Andrew stamp work. It was a valuable lesson. Andrew says his father told him once he learned to stamp, he could make whatever he wanted. The other lesson Andrew learned was the sacrifices his dad made to provide this second income for the family by being in his shop every day. His family was part of the program through which they could sell at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. He still remembers the day the committee came to their home to watch them work, to ensure that the work was their own, every step of the way.
A few years later Andrew moved on to helping with the lapidary. In high school, he learned more from artists such as John Tenorio, Andrew Garcia and his own uncle, Ramos Pacheco, Jr. He also attended Santa Fe Indian School, where he took classes in silversmithing. These years were the beginning of his understanding that there truly is no limit to creativity for those who are willing to explore and learn.
Andrew got into making wire and stone earrings and picked up the art of inlay. He had learned beadwork during high school and continued to hone his skills at that. Six years ago, he learned how to make traditional moccasins from a class held at his local community center. When asked about his particular method for creating designs, Andrew says he simply “takes a moment and looks, then it just starts flowing.” He says he “gets the feel of what it wants to be. The stones tell the story.”
While singing at powwows and watching his son dance, he got the idea of making armbands. For this he needed a rolling mill. Janice Tenorio, another artist from Santo Domingo, told him about the Turquoise Skies Artist Co-Op and the tools available there. He decided to check out the Co-Op. It was a place tailor made for his stamping skills. Starting with copper, he showed the Co-Op what he could do with stamp work and today continues to create pieces for Turquoise Skies.
To view some of Andrew’s beautiful, handcrafted jewelry, you can visit the Turquoise Skies gallery. You might even catch him at work on a new piece.