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New Old-Style Katsina Dolls by Chester Poleyestewa
I don’t know how old Chester Poleyestewa is, but he’s been making Katsina (Kachina) dolls longer that I’ve been around.

The Katsina Dolls represent the actual Katsinas, or spiritual beings, who live in the San Francisco Peaks. The Kachina Dancers are part of the male Kiva Societies that have learned the dances, which were originally performed by the Spiritual Beings. If the dances are done in exactly the same way and the Katsina’s masks and dress are correct, the Dancers bring the same blessings to the people that the original Katsinas did.
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Blue Corn and My First Experience with Pueblo Pottery

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 1:56 PM

Blue Corn and My First Experience with Pueblo Pottery
In the early 1970’s, I was traveling around the West selling Navajo rugs and Indian jewelry to Indian theme shops, museum stores and National Park outlets.

Several customers in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado asked me if I could obtain Pueblo pottery for them. It was becoming more popular and there was a boom in anything Native American.
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Navajo Folk Artist Delbert Buck--He'll Make You Smile!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 9:31 AM

Navajo Folk Artist Delbert Buck--He'll Make You Smile!
In 1983, when we first moved into our “new” gallery space, we were approached by several Navajo artists selling “Folk Art.” At the time, I was not real interested in it.

Bad mistake! What I didn’t realize was that these artists were really on the cutting edge of a new trend in Native American art. Twenty years later, folk art had become an established and important part of this genre with featured artists being shown at top museums around the Southwest.
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In 1938 Sallie Lippincott Moved to the Navajo Reservation. She Left her Mark!
Sallie was from Wheeling, West Virginia and was part of a steel mill family. She was a debutant and was raise with every advantage. She attended the University of Chicago, unusual for a woman in that day, and when she graduated, she moved to the Wide Ruins Trading Post in Arizona with her husband Bill Wagner.

This is a wonderful tale and, during this year, we will be telling many stories about Sallie and Bill in this newsletter. We also have the privilege of offering some of the many things that she collected during those years.
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Works by Fritz Scholder, American Artist (1937 - 2005)

Thursday, November 9, 2017 6:31 PM

Works by Fritz Scholder, American Artist (1937 - 2005)

Fritz Scholder occupies a unique spot in Native American Art. Many times during his career, he claimed that he was not an Indian, but the works that initially brought him to fame were a series on Native Americans.

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Peter Ray James Returns to Painting

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 8:47 AM

Peter Ray James Returns to Painting

We met Peter Ray James nearly thirty years ago. Not only is he an incredibly talented artist, he is an amazing human being, always reaching out to help other people. 

We had our first show in the gallery for this Navajo artist back in 1990. He is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and also attended the Parson School of Design in New York. At the time, he painted large, colorful canvas paintings that dominated a space. He was a successful artist at Indian Market and the Heard Museum show. Peter had the world in front of him.

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This Silversmith Does It All!

Friday, September 8, 2017 5:24 PM

This Silversmith Does It All!
Many of you are familiar with Jesse Robbins, a Creek Indian who attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, went on to get his Masters in Archeology at Northern Arizona University and dedicated himself to becoming a full time silversmith.

Jesse has done very well and this last year was accepted to show at the Heard Museum Show and the Santa Fe Indian Market for the first time. Jesse’s jewelry looks like it came out of the 1800s. And it is made just like it was made back then.
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Rocks, Gems, Fossils, Jewelry and more in Denver this weekend!
Many of our customers have been to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show during the winter. It's a huge show that takes up the entire city. It's become so big and so spread out that it is really overwhelming.

An alternative that has every bit the selection and excitement of the Tucson event will be in Denver from September 9-17 at the Denver Coliseum Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show.
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Old Rugs (Almost) Never Die!

Monday, August 14, 2017 10:12 AM

Old Rugs (Almost) Never Die!
Those of you know me or read this blog regularly, know that I never met a Navajo Rug that I didn't like. Sure, some are more favorite than others, but there is always something to find in a rug that you can like and admire.

So what happens when a weaving is damaged or suffers a color run? What if your dog chews off the corner or your best friend (because you would never) drops a glass of red wine or coffee on your favorite weaving?
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New for Indian Market at Toh-Atin Gallery’s show this Week!
We are loading the vans, packing the rugs and getting ready to take off for Santa Fe in a few days and we have some great Navajo weavings to share with you.
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Santa Fe's Indian Market Week and What We Bring to the Party!
You can spin it anyway you want, but there is nothing like the third week in August in Santa Fe! The town is bustling with energy, and shows featuring the finest in Native American and tribal art are all over town. Every gallery, shop and museum is featuring their best and you get to rub shoulders with the nicest artists and friendliest people in the world! 
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Mesa Verde: Saving a National Treasure

Friday, June 30, 2017 12:40 PM

Mesa Verde: Saving a National Treasure
Mesa Verde National Park is the only one of our nation's 59 National Parks that is dedicated to the works of man rather than the works of nature! That is special and unique, but it comes with its own set of challenges.
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Maria Martinez, The Potter of San Ildefonso

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 10:51 AM

Maria Martinez, The Potter of San Ildefonso

We have, over the years, put together a great collection of Maria's work. She was an icon and a role model for so many Pueblo potters. Anyone who is a serious, or even casual pottery collector, should have one of Maria's pieces. She was a gentle, talented woman who was happy to share her work with the world. She did not have a particularly happy life. She lost her husband early on, her son died at a young age and her grandson, Tony Da, probably the most talented potter in the family, had a motorcycle accident that seriously affected him, ending his pottery career. He died soon after that. 

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Spring Gallery Walk Friday May 12

Monday, May 8, 2017 10:14 AM

Spring Gallery Walk Friday May 12
 

Durango master leatherworker and silversmith Eric Hodges will be featured at Toh-Atin Gallery for the Spring Gallery Walk on Friday May 12 with his purses made from old Navajo rugs and old watch bracelets turned into more modern bracelets.

 
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Ben Nighthorse: Memories and Unique Jewelry

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 4:23 PM

Ben Nighthorse: Memories and Unique Jewelry

 

During the late 1960's and early 1970's, Indian jewelry was incredibly popular. Turquoise and silver jewelry was being turned out by shops in Albuquerque, Gallup, Farmington, Flagstaff and other "border" towns in massive quantities.

Artists who worked on their own on the reservation were working full time. Anyone who needed employment on the reservation could turn to jewelry making. There was an economic upside in all of this, for sure, and it was also great to see these beautiful creations being worn by people all over the country.

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Historic Bandolier Bags and a Belt from the Ojibwe

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 6:58 PM

Historic Bandolier Bags and a Belt from the Ojibwe

The Bandolier bag was first created in the mid-1800's by the Ojibwe people of Northern Minnesota. They are also known as the Chippewa or “Anishinaabe” in their language.

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"The Return of The Raven"

Friday, January 27, 2017 4:49 PM

John Moser was a man who knew at an early age that he wanted to be either an Indian or a cowboy. He was born in St. Louis in 1924 to an educated family. But John didn’t like school and preferred to hang out with the various Indian tribes then clustered in St. Louis, sometimes returning home dressed in feathers and skins, sometimes inviting his new friends to the dinner table—much to his mother’s dismay.

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Noel All Day - All Night!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 9:24 PM

Noel All Day - All Night!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Durango's Christmas Shopping Season kicks off on Noel Day and Night, December 2nd, and runs from 9 am until 9 pm with special offers, raffles, entertainment and good holiday cheer, all around town!

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We Are Proud to Announce The Launch of our New Web Site!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:44 PM

We Are Proud to Announce The Launch of our New Web Site!

We Are Proud to Announce The Launch of our New Web Site!

We have, without any question, the best customers on the planet! To all of you who follow our newsletter and make it possible for us to share the great works of Native and Southwestern artists, we say "Thank You!"

We have never met many of you, but have gotten to know you through wonderful telephone conversations when you have called about our web site. We love it when people call to talk about pieces we have on the site or even to check the "real" ski report at Purgatory!

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United Indian Traders Organization and oral histories of the old time traders

Back in 1957, when my father, Jackson Clark Sr.,  started buying and selling Navajo weaving, he was also in the Pepsi Cola business. When he went to his first wholesale show, the Los Angeles Gift and Jewelry Show, the show manager asked him what his company name was. He told them it was the Jackson David Bottling Company. It was named after him and his partner, Dave McGraw.

The manager of the gift show told him she didn’t think anyone would buy Navajo rugs from a bottling company and suggested that he call it the Jackson David Trading Company. So he did.

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Storytelling to 112 Children

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 3:51 PM

Storytelling to 112 Children

Carolyn Sando, of Jemez Pueblo, has been a great friend and one of our favorite artists since she attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, over thirty years ago!

It’s hard to believe we’ve known each other for that many years, but it has been a pleasure. She is one of those people whose enthusiasm and smile are contagious!

In the fall of every year, she brings us a nice selection of her Nativity sets which are always a big hit. The individual pieces in each set radiate personality and it certainly makes you feel good to look at them.

Well, this summer, Carolyn outdid herself and brought in two really nice large storytellers. I am talking large!

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Learning About Anthony Tallboy

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 4:16 PM

Learning About Anthony Tallboy

Navajo weaver and Medicine Man Anthony Tallboy came to the gallery yesterday with a beautiful Storm pattern.

We had been expecting him. He called on Friday to say he would have the weaving done by Monday. After he called, I started thinking about how long I’d known Anthony.

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