Meet Monty Claw and his Unique Jewelry

Monty Claw

We are so happy to have met Monty Claw and feature some of his unique jewelry in our webstore.

Navajo artist Monty Claw is largely self-taught although he did study at The Institute of American Indian Arts.

He has worked in many mediums including leather and beadwork, making feather fans, painting and silversmithing.       

See two of Monty’s fans below in this slide show   – for more details, see Fans on our website. 

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Monty Claw and his work have been featured in a number of publications including The Smithsonian Magazine and Native Peoples Magazine.

Monty’s pieces appear in museum quality collections such as Nelson Atkins, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Denver Art Museum, The Sam Noble Museum, and Musée Du Quai Branly in Paris, France. Watch the slide show below to see some of his museum quality pieces. 

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Although he has only been a full time jeweler since 2011 he has already started accumulating awards: SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, The Heard Museum Indian Market, and Cherokee Art Market in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Today Monty focuses mainly on jewelry and metalsmithing and specializes in tufa cast pieces. He creates amazing works of silver and gold occasionally set with precious gems like turquoise, coral, and diamonds. But truth be told, he really prefers to work in all metal.

He enjoys creating sculptural pieces that look like they are going to walk or fly off a ring or bracelet and come to life.

His pieces are unique, with singularly creative details. His ideas range from traditional to beyond modern, from beautiful to edgy, from simple classics to groundbreaking creations. He creates many pieces related to animal and spiritual beings. Click on the photos below to see more views and dimensions.

First People

Yei Bi Chei

Apache Crown Dancer

Raven Spirit

Dragonfly Spirit

Wolf Spirit

 

His work is highly sought after by major collectors, museum board members, major curators and Native American jewelry enthusiasts who just love to wear his pieces.

Monty Claw tells us stories with his jewelry as he continues on his creative path.

Paula – I’m closing with a photo of the first of my many Monty Claw pieces – a treasured buffalo inlay buckle………..

Paula’s inlay buffalo belt buckle by Monty Claw

Fast Wolf Pace at Native American Jewelry Tips

 

Paula at Christmas

 

Hello Friends,

The pace has been hectic but very fun here these last few weeks.

I’m helping you guys out there find stunning gifts for your girls…….and vice-versa. There is nothing quite like a gift well chosen.

But that means I have had very little time to blog or answer the very excellent questions that have been arriving in my mailbox.

So in the meantime, I just wanted to say Happy Holidays from all of us here at horsekeeping.com , where you can find a wide variety of Native American jewelry and artifacts……….and great customer service. (that’s me !)

 

Native American Healing, Ceremonial and Dance Rattles

NATIVE AMERICAN CEREMONIAL AND DANCE RATTLES

©  2010 Cherry Hill

Native American rattles have been and are used for many purposes including healing and other medicine uses, dancing for ceremony and celebration, commemorating birth and more. To First Nations people, shakers or rattles represent rain (for prayers of abundance and prosperity) and tears, especially those of emotional release. Tears of joy signifying when the mind, body, soul and spirit connect. Ceremonially, rattles are used in cleansing and purifying, spiritual guidance work, celebration and in thanks and respect to Ancestral Spirits.

Dragonfly Spirit Gourd Rattle by Cynthia Whitehawk, Apache

 

Rattles can be made of many materials including deer and elk hooves, rawhide, turtle shells, gourds, wood, buffalo parts (horn, hump bone, scrotum) bones, horns and antlers of all kinds, leather (cowhide, buckskin, elkskin).

Wolf Spirit Gourd Rattle by Apache Cynthia Whitehawk

 

The rattling items are either inside or outside. Rattles such as gourds might have small items inside such as beans, corn, small stones, or even the seeds native to the gourd itself.

Raven Spirit Gourd Rattle by Apache Cynthia Whitehawk

Rattles with external sound makers are adorned with pieces of metal, tinkle cones, bells, beads and more.

Lakota Horse Spirit Dance Rattle by Alan Monroe, Oglala Lakota

 

Generally, medicine rattles are made entirely of natural materials and the sound is more muted. Dance rattles are made of almost any materials, natural and otherwise. In fact, unusual items such as pieces of scrap metal, coins and other resonating materials are used to create a loud, crisp sound. Dance rattles are often made like a coup stick, using bone or wood with a handle on the end.

Horse Spirit Dance Rattle by Alan Monroe, Oglala Lakota

 

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Wanted – Carson Blackgoat Horse Cuff Bracelet

Paula, please I need a Horse Cuff bracelet made by Carson, I already have the wolves one, so I need the horse now to match it, but I need it to be specifically made on the same exactly shape as the photo I am about to attach with this email. cs I bought one from someone else and it wasn’t exactly the way it showed in the photo.
Do you send it to Australia?? Can I pay via paypal?? Can he make it for me??? I do not mind how long it will take?? How much it will cost??
So Paula i want the 4 horses to be put on this same shape bracelet on the attach, cs this one 1 here is more rounded design and I like it better, and also the engravings to be exactly the same.
Thanks and I hope you can help me.
Leandro
Hi Leandro,
The bracelet you have was probably stamped “CARSON B.” which is the hallmark for Navajo artist Carson Blackgoat.
Although we have never carried that bracelet by Carson Blackgoat, I have seen them. The wolf group is a cast piece which is attached to the front of the wide cuff bracelet. The stamping on the edges of the bracelet differs between the bracelets but the wolf group is always exactly the same since it is a cast element.
Now as far as the horse group, there is a cast piece that Navajo artists use of four horses galloping. Below are some examples of that horse herd as used by two different artists. Is this the group of four horses you were thinking of?
Running Horse piece on belt buckle
Running Horse piece on wire bracelet
So since you say you want the horse bracelet to be exactly like the wolf one you have and since these groups of animals are quite different, I wanted to make sure you have seen the horse group to see if that is what you are looking for.
When you say you want it made on the same exact shape as the wolf bracelet, are you referring to the scalloped edges of the cuff? And you want the same exact stamping on the scallops?
Since Navajo jewelry is hand-made, no two pieces are exactly alike so the stamping is different on every Carson bracelet I’ve seen. But the central portion with the cast piece (animal group) is always exactly the same.
Finally, bracelet fit is very important for a wide cuff like this. Since you already have one that fits, measure those dimensions in inches and have that on hand as you shop. I’d suggest using a soft cloth tape measure and measure the inside circumference from end to end and the length of the gap. Have these two measurements as separate figures and also added together as total circumference as some sellers list them that way. Also measure the width.
We don’t take custom orders. Here’s why. We make several buying trips each year and we choose items we feel would be good for our web store. The Native American artists seem to prefer to deal in person, not through the mail or by phone. They purchase their materials (silver, stone), then make their beautiful creations, then take them to a market somewhere to sell. They hope for a quick turnaround for their investment so they are not really set up to take a single order for a specific item and then ship it through the mail.
So your best bet is to keep an eye on our NEW page and maybe on one of our next shopping trips, I’ll see a bracelet like you want.
Best of luck on  your search !

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Native American Stone Fetish Carvings – Six Directions

Native American Stone Fetish Carvings

Six Directions

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

The Zuni define their world in terms of directions with their home and village and its inhabitants at the center of the world. Therefore, they have six directions, the four cardinal directions (North, South, East West) and the Upper and Lower Dimensions.

Zuni Six Directions Animal Fetish carvings

Zuni Six Directions Animal Fetish carvings

Each region has its own guardian and often fetishes representing the six directions are placed in the home as a group or set.

Zuni Jet Mountain Lion Fetish Carving by Fabian Pino

Zuni Jet Mountain Lion Fetish Carving by Fabian Pino

The mountain lion represents the North.
Zuni Wolf Fetish Carving by Terrence and Jessica Martza

Zuni Wolf Fetish Carving by Terrence and Jessica Martza

The wolf represents the East.
Zuni Badger Fetish Carving by Adrian Cachini

Zuni Badger Fetish Carving by Adrian Cachini

The badger represents the South.

Zuni Bear Fetish Carving by Emery Eriacho

Zuni Bear Fetish Carving by Emery Eriacho

The bear represents the West.

Zuni Mole Fetish Carving by Ephran Chavez

Zuni Mole Fetish Carving by Ephran Chavez

The mole represents the Lower Dimension or the Earth.

Navajo Eagle Fetish Carving by David Yazzie

Navajo Eagle Fetish Carving by David Yazzie

The eagle represents the Upper Dimension or the Sky.

Some Zuni artists carve all six fetishes out of one piece of stone – this is a very rare Six Directions set.

Another approach is to carve one fetish, say the badger, larger and then to tie the other five fetishes, carved in a smaller scale, to the badger.

A more common group is a display of the six fetishes, all in the same scale, on a natural setting such as one made with rocks and wood.

Various animals represent certain powers.

  • Mountain Lion – Leadership, Protection for Travelers and Success for Hunters
  • Bear – Soul Strength, Power from Within, Introspection, Healing
  • Badger – Aggressiveness, Perseverance
  • Wolf – Teacher, Pathfinder, Clarity, Survival
  • Eagle – Spirit, Vision, Truth, a link to the Great Spirit
  • Mole – The Protector of the Underworld and Crops, Awareness, Introspection

For more information

Zuni Stone Fetish Carving Native American

Zuni Stone Fetish Carving Native American

Native American Artifact – What is a Medicine Bag?

Native American Artifact:

What is a Medicine Bag?

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

You might think that a medicine bag should only be carried by a Native American Shaman, Medicine Man or Healer. That is one type of medicine bag – quite large as it would contain many herbs and articles, sometimes as many as fifty items.

Native American Indian Buckskin Medicine Bag

Apache Wolf Spirit Medicine Bag

Cree Native American Medicine Bag

Cree Native American Beaded and Fringed Medicine Bag

Today, non Native Americans also use Medicine Bags. They are symbols connected to personal protection and power. Some wear a small medicine bag around the neck, under the clothing, or on a belt or saddle or carry it in a purse, pocket, knapsack or briefcase. Some people sleep with their medicine bags under their pillows.

What the bag contains is sacred and good medicine for that person. It can be traditional items or anything else – a locket, photo, key, bullet, or coin, for example.

Traditionally a medicine bag contains something from the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms and from the life of man. Here are some ideas:

Plant Kingdom

  • Sage
  • Sweetgrass
  • The Three Sisters: Corn,
    Bean, and Squash Seeds
  • Flowers

Animal Kingdom

  • Lock of hair, mane or tail
  • Bone
  • Feather
  • Claw
  • Tooth

Mineral Kingdom

  • Stone fetish
  • Piece of stone such as turquoise or lapis
  • Gem
  • Crystal

Man’s World

  • Key
  • Photo
  • Coin
  • Microchip
  • Bullet

How Zuni Navajo Native American Fetishes Are Made

How Zuñi & Navajo Native American Fetish Carvings are Made

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

Stones UsedZuni Horse Fetish Carving

Although fetishes are carved from many types of rock today, fish rock is the stone traditionally used for fetish carvings. Also popular are pipestone, serpentine, Picasso marble, turquoise, jet, picture jasper, argite, lapis, azurite, sodalite, marble, dolomite, mother of pearl (MOP), onyx, and spiny oyster. See more about Stones.

Medicine Bundle

Zuni Bear Fetish carving with medicine bundleMany fetishes have a medicine bundle, offering bundle, or adornment tied on the back of the animal that can consists of coral seed beads, shell heishi, feathers and other stone pieces. These may be used as an offering to the fetish, to evoke the spirit of the fetish or to increase the strength of a fetish.

Coral bits, from the ocean, represent marine life or the heart of the fetish.

Turquoise represents the sky and water.

Penn shell heishi is brown and represents the earth.

Use of the six colors (see Six Directions below) white, yellow, red, blue, black and speckled or multi-colored, together symbolize the six directions.

Feathers are very powerful medicine when added to fetishes, so are rarely added to rock carvings for the market.

Arrowhead

Medicine Bundle on Zuni fetish carvingSometimes a stone arrow is included in the bundle. It used to be these were real arrowheads but now they are small arrowheads carved out of shell. The arrowhead can protect the fetish from harm on its journey and the arrowhead can strengthen the power of the fetish.

If the arrow points ahead, it protects the fetish from things it will encounter.

If the arrow points backward, it protects the fetish from things that might come up from behind.

The bundle is tied on with sinew, which is from muscle fiber and symbolizes strength. Some contemporary artists use leather or heavy beading thread.

DetailZuni Horse Fetish carving from Fishrock

The style and detail of carving varies among artists but usually includes detail on the face, ears, tail and mane. Often the eyes and other spots of adornment on the animal are inset pieces of contrasting stones such as turquoise and coral.

Heart Line

Zuni Fetish Carving with Heart LineSingle, double and triple heart lines are inset in some fetishes. The heart line is a line etched, painted or inlaid along one or both sides of the animal. It usually extends from the mouth to the region of the heart.

There are many interpretations as to what a heart line represents, but it is often said to represent the pathway of the breath of the animal to the life force, which is the heart. Others feel that the heart line points to the soul of the animal. It is thought that a heart line gives the fetish healing or medicinal power.