Raymond Sequaptewa in his studio with his Coral Dragon Ring
Raymond Sequaptewa’s trademark is to put together a colorful mix of stones, shell, sinew, fossilized ivory, and petrified wood to create freeform or tufa cast buckles, bolos, rings, bracelets, and pendants. He has said he always wanted to do something different from traditional Hopi overlay jewelry, and distinctive his work certainly is. For Raymond, creating jewelry goes beyond artistry; his jewelry is prayers, thoughts to make life better. His work is quite imaginative, otherworldly, in fact. Sequaptewa frequently depicts clouds, which he calls “healing clouds.” He explains that “Healing Clouds say don’t let the darkness burn out the light within you.”
Healing is a significant theme in Raymond Sequaptewa’s jewelry. After a kidney replacement and cardiac bypass surgery, Raymond suffered a near death experience and lasting dreams that have provided quite a bit of inspiration in his work. Sequaptewa’s belt buckle entitled “Strong Rain” is entitled such because “strong rain is happy tears to heal you.” How wonderful!
Raymond’s jewelry isn’t always just about healing, though. Sometimes, his work is simply depictions of things he sees in nature, or in human nature. How neat is Raymond Sequaptewa’s Bullfrog buckle. Notice the way Raymond has created a somewhat abstract bullfrog out of the materials he has chosen. There’s also a Raymond Sequaptewa bracelet entitled “Dedicated to Women,” in which Raymond attempts to illustrate the “inner complexity of women” through a hinged door on the bracelet that opens to reveal a web of sinew and coral.
Look at the pieces I’ve included here, and I think you’ll agree that there is a strong spiritual, even mystical quality pervading everything Raymond Sequaptewa does.
Raymond Shows me his "Dedicated to Women" Bracelet