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ALFRED JOE - NAVAJO - March 2006

The Highlight of the Month program at The Indian Craft Shop focuses on a particular craft area, region or artist family/group. Our aim is to illustrate the diversity of tribal groups and the wide variety of artistic expressions and traditions in the country today.

Alfred Joe Navajo Best known for his dramatic designs, fabulous stones and intricate techniques, Alfred Joe was born the eldest son of Rose Ann and Robert Joe in Winslow, Arizona. He learned the basics of jewelry making from his Uncle Colbert Joe, Sr. He has worked with many prominent silversmiths, several of whom worked for him at the shop he operated in Winslow during the 1970s.

"Little Squash" (the family's nickname for his oldest son) closed in 1979 when silver prices skyrocketed, giving him the freedom to concentrate on just his own work. Al considers his work both traditional and contemporary, with an emphasis on the contemporary. He has mastered a variety of techniques, such as hollow forming, overlay and raising metal. He enjoys working with natural turquoise stones from the famous older mines Lander, Bisbee, Morenci and Indian Mountain, but also uses lapis, coral and other stones. Al's double-sided pendants are prized because of the magnificent stones he uses, each side with a different stone and different design. His striking silver and gold beads stand out from others with the innovative rail design he creates by placing strips of metal between the two halves of the beads.

His signature rug design bracelets get their dramatic design from an overlay of silver dust he uses to provide texture and contrast. His work has won numerous awards, Santa Fe Indian Market, Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial, Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show and the Navajo Market Place at the Museum of Northern Arizona. He has been a long-time favorite of The Indian Craft Shop customers who look forward to his next innovation. Alfred Joe was named the Indian Arts and Crafts Association Artist of the Year for 2001, a well-deserved honor for this innovative artist.

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