From the Jacket:
Adornment has long been an important mode of expression for the Native peoples of North America, communicating a wide range of cultural beliefs. Today, adornment, especially jewelry, is still vital in Native cultures, continuing traditional forms and techniques and incorporating new ones.
Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest celebrates the timeless beauty and power of the jewelry of the American Southwest and Northwest Coast, two regions with distinguished traditions of visual creation whose contemporary artists continue to work in the best of those traditions while expanding upon them to make jewelry an art form expressive of individual vision and creativity. Accompanying an exhibition that originates at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the book emphasizes the spiritual values, high standards of craftsmanship, and ongoing commitment to cultural tradition that contemporary Native artists exemplify. In personal statements, thirty-nine artists talk about their lives, their beliefs, and their approach to art and jewelry-making, revealing a remarkable depth and breadth of talent. Supporting chapters and essays by general editor Kari Chalker; contributing editors Lois Sherr Dubin and Peter M. Whiteley; noted artist Jim Hart, a Haida from the Northwest Coast; and anthropologist Martine Reid discuss how the cultures continue to communicate beliefs and traditions through visual adornment.
Lavishly illustrated, both with historical photographs and a wealth of new photography commissioned for this publication, Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest will be an important resource for students, scholars, designers, and indeed for anyone who loves beautiful and well-made objects.