Stamp work designs are among the most popular types of handcrafted Native American jewelry. The name sounds simple, but the skill and effort required to create a stamp which can be used to press a design onto metal is anything but simple. It also takes a great deal of skill to learn how to apply just the right amount of pressure to imprint the design on the individual piece.
Many stamps embody traditional cultural images as viewed through the eyes of the individual artist. It’s a combination from which beauty is created. Stamps were often passed down as family heirlooms, allowing future generations of artists to create the popular designs their family was known for.
The artists at the Tskies Co-Op have been creating original stamp designs for use in the pieces in the Gallery’s collections. These special creations are part of the Stamp Dancer Collection and each one is a true work of art.
One of the designs, Bears Journey, was created from a stamp designed by Tskies artist Marion Lovato of Santo Domingo Pueblo. Another piece, Rain Drummer, was the creation of Devin Edison of the Navajo Nation. When he creates his stamp designs, Devin says “I do my study on Navajo traditional styles and the old 1960s styles.” That’s the research he begins with. He prefers landscapes, he says, and squashblossom images. Devin’s been creating stamp designs for about two years. Each one can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour to create once he has laid out his design.
Thanks to the artists themselves, who have donated their designs, these stamps are being used to support the Co-Op and the Gallery. The Stamp Dancer Collection is a wonderful addition to the Turquoise Skies Gallery and it’s one which will surely continue to grow thanks to the amazing talent of the Tskies artists.