“My background is very Renaissance.” Silversmith Kevin Coriz makes the statement with a laugh as he talks about his path toward designing and creating his jewelry. Despite all the twists and turns, he’s made during his life, he feels it was a natural progression for him to begin working with silver. His paternal grandfather was a silversmith. As he puts it, working with silver was in his genes.
From Santo Domingo Pueblo, Kevin started off as a farmer and rancher before going to work as a framer in the construction industry. He worked seventeen years building custom homes. He also made himself study silversmithing. The joy of manipulating silver into a creative piece of fine jewelry drew him in. Designs popped into his head and he found himself working them out into a tangible piece of jewelry. Kevin says if he sees a stone, he can visualize the finished piece before he’s ever started it.
His designs are an innate part of the art that lives inside him. It’s why he stills “sees” his pieces this way before he creates them. In the classes he took to help him learn the craft, they would often want him to draw out his design on paper before beginning to work on the piece. He laughs again and says he is still learning to do that.
One thing he enjoys about silver is that, because it is so malleable, “you can create whatever you’re feeling, or thinking.” He finds his designs in “anything and everything”, using the world around him as a model for his creations. When asked to describe his style, he pronounces it both traditional and modern, “just like with my lifestyle”. Growing up, his grandfather told him he would have to live in two worlds, and so he has embraced this dual lifestyle for a living and for art.
The pieces he creates reflect his life in two worlds. Though turquoise remains his favorite stone to work with, he tries to get different materials and find out how they work with his designs. Yet history and tradition remain a part of what he does. When asked if there was a piece he’d like to make, he replies that he “would love to create a squash blossom that portrays the Pueblo Revolt, using all the pueblos in that piece”.
In many ways, Kevin Coriz remains a renaissance man. He speaks of wanting to learn more about the casting process, of learning tufa casting and lost wax casting, but he also expresses the desire to learn pottery, basketry, and traditional quilt making. Art in all forms absorbs him, pulling him into its beauty. It’s a beauty he would like to pass on to his children. He hopes they will find art within themselves and enjoy the wonder of creating it. As he puts it, “I just want to learn a little bit of everything while I’m still here on this earth. That way I can pass it to my kids and they can pick what they want to master.”