Inspired by Cristelle Blackford’s work focusing on cultural patterns, I researched the designs used by Hopi jewelers in designing jewelry, possibly the best silver jewelry in the United States.
In 1938, hoping to help Hopi artists, Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, a painter and curator of art and one of the founders of the Museum of Northern Arizona, hired a designer, Virgil Hubert, to work with Hopi silversmiths. He helped the Hopi artists to develop design motifs drawn from traditional Hopi pottery, basketry, and mural designs for their silver jewelry. After World War II, Hopi silversmiths trained other Hopi artists to refine the art.
Old Hopi cultural beliefs and practices were central to the project’s success. The choice of a distinctive technique of production was also important. The technique chosen was silver overlay.
Hopi Coil Basket