I am so thrilled to have Perry Shorty, one of my very favorite contemporary American Indian silversmiths, as my featured artist for November. I’ve represented Perry since the early 1990’s, and I never cease to be amazed at his skill in creating exquisite jewelry that harkens back to the early days of Navajo silverwork. Many times, I’ve made the drive to visit Perry at his Shiprock home in a small corner of the Navajo reservation in Northwestern New Mexico.
Perry Shorty is demonstrating how he creates his wonderful jewelry
Perry Shorty’s work strongly reflects classic Navajo silver jewelry created from the last quarter of the 1800’s through the 1930’s. While Perry’s jewelry is clearly identifiable in its elegant simplicity, his jewelry making techniques are actually quite complex. He is well known for creating coin silver jewelry, an old technique in which silver coins are meticulously melted down to be formed into silver jewelry pieces. Perry also hand-extrudes silver wire and uses files, chisels and appliqué of silver balls to create intricate deigns on the silver’s surface. He is a master of very precise stampwork as well, for Perry has created most of his own stamps. Add to all of Perry’s skill the fact that he uses only the finest natural turquoise, and what you’ve got are true works of art like Perry Shorty’s Royston Turquoise bracelet.
Today, Perry Shorty’s work is recognized worldwide. He has an exceptionally strong following among collectors of Native American jewelry. Each year, Perry sells out at Santa Fe’s Indian Market as well as the Heard Museum’s Indian art fair. The care with which Perry hand-crafts his work means that he doesn’t have time to produce a whole lot of it - each of his pieces is absolutely unique. With the demand for Perry Shorty jewelry being so high, I am pleased that I’m able to present these Perry Shorty jewelry items for sale. . .
Perry Shorty is carefully hammering silver. When finished, he'll have a buckle.