Aaron Anderson is a very well known Navajo silversmith from Gallup New Mexico. Aaron is a leader and teacher in his craft, he specializes in Tufa Casting a difficult to master technique. Every piece is completely unique because he only makes one cast at a time as sells the “Rock” tufa stone carving with every piece he makes.
“I got into this because I don’t have a boss. I’m don’t like regular work. I like doing things that I want to do. I get into arguments with people who buy my stuff because I like designing what I want. [I prefer when] people just say, “I want a bracelet” or something… I don’t like people telling me too much. If they do I will still do it, but it could take me years to do the project.
“So, silversmithing, and Tufa Cast… I’ve taught a lot of people and I don’t mind teaching them, but I always tell them “your concept will come about and people will start recognizing your jewelry” but what I’m finding out is that the people I am teaching start copying me! Which is all right, because it’s nice to be the leader and innovator of something that’s always been here. As time went by, even when they copy me, people always say that [the work] looks like an Aaron Anderson. I enjoy doing it. That’s why I sell the rocks with every piece I do. If you get an Aaron Anderson and you run into a collector, the first thing they’ll ask is “Do you have the rock?” That’s how you know it’s authentic.
So every piece you have is one-of-a-kind?
“Yeah. Every single one. I started learning this. My dad didn’t want me to do this. When I started, it was very secretive. No one wanted to teach me. There were very few people who knew how to do the process, and they didn’t want to teach just anyone. Even my dad told me to just go back to school and graduate and get out of here. I had to learn this on my own through trial and error. But I’m making it easier for people [who want to learn].”
– Aaron Anderson, Navajo silversmith