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Allenroy Paquin - November 2000

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.


Allenroy Paquin is a jeweler who is known for his wonderful depictions of lizards, frogs and sea turtles in silver and gold, often with beautiful inlay work. He likes to incorporate humor into his work, as can be seen in his wonderful lizard pins that are designed to perch on the wearer's shoulder, one of his unique designs.

Growing up in Albuquerque, away from his father's Zuni Pueblo and his mother's Jicarilla Apache Reservation, Allenroy was not always interested in his native heritage, much less in making jewelry. In high school, he became interested in fancy dancing, one of his favorite activities through today. At this same time, his father took up jewelry making to support their family after being disabled in an accident, but it still did not interest Allenroy. Instead, he earned a degree in technical engineering. It was not until his father died several years later, when his mother gave him his father's tools, that Allenroy realized this was his inheritance and heritage. Today he considers his father to be his strongest inspiration.

This feeling was reinforced one time when he was having a creative block. He found a lizard in a shed he was cleaning, and was captivated by its colors and shapes. "It was like someone told me, 'make inlay lizard jewelry.' I felt it was my dad telling me to do that." It seemed logical after that to move on to turtles and frogs.

Allenroy is interested in educating as well. His sons, Ignacio and Kyle, have already started making jewelry, and have won awards for their work. Allenroy also teaches school children about native heritage, trying to break down the image of the "stereotypical Hollywood Indian." He performs a solo show that incorporates storytelling, dancing and flute playing at schools. He would also like to "be an inspiration to native urban Indians who have lost their connection with their reservation or their native ties -- to help them find there is something to connect them to that world."

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