Old Style Navajo Concho Belt by John Yazzie

Georgiana Kennedy Simpson of Twin Rocks Trading Post of Bluff, UT describes this Navajo Concho Belt.

Geogiana (Jana) Simpson knows her stuff.  Her dad, about to turn 100 years old, is a trader who is still going strong in Gallup, NM., where Jana grew up.  Like the Navajo artists, she learned her trade while she was growing up.

Thank you, Jana, for beinging so many innovations to Twin Rocks, and recognizing beauty!

Leland Holiday, This Navajo Painter is a Pure Joy

Georgiana Kennedy Simpson from Twin Rocks Trading Post interviews Navajo Artist Leland Holiday.

Leland Holiday paints on boards.  They are bright, magical, and as soon as one comes in the door, out it goes!

We love Leland’s sense of color and play.

When a Belt is more than a Belt!

Allison is an extraordinary Navajo artist who lives down near Albuquerque. He goes by his middle name, Snowhawk.

We are overjoyed when he visits, and are blown-away by his art and his technique.

Here he have Steve Simpson, of Twin Rocks, showing us this extraordinary, and one-of-a-kind, piece of wearable art.

Navajo Wind Energy Basket and Healing

Navajo Wind Energy Basket Relates to Holy Wind, our Breath, and Kinship

Navajo Wind Energy Basket Relates to Holy Wind, our Breath, and Kinship

Just like the Western notion of the soul, Holy Wind exists everywhere. Every living thing is part of it.

The basket pictured is made by Navajo artist Chris Johnson.  As a member of the Betty Rock Johnson family, Chris has been schooled by the finest. Using richly traditional colors of red and black and a wind energy theme, Chris had made an interesting crossover piece. Chris’ weavings do not last long so don’t hesitate.

Holy Wind is the underlying element that unifies all beings. People, deer, buffalo, spiders, stars, clouds, goatheads, fish and pinon trees — everything — are all united by breath and wind. The singe soul sings within it, and us, all.

Because we have kinship with all living beings, we also have the responsibilities that come along with those connections. This means that the earth, animals and plants that live on it (as well as the sky with its entities and phenomena) are related and will take care of us. And, they will provide for us as long as we recognize that we’re responsible for being part of the earth and the sky, too. It’s a two-way street.

Breath and speech are intimately related to the concept of Holy Wind, or nilch’i. There is a holy quality to breath that we don’t often recognize in our culture. Traditional Navajos think of breathing as a sacred act that unite all living beings.

It is possible for a patient in a healing ceremony to breathe in the life-giving power of the sun outside of the hogan, because the chanter’s breath rolls inside the hogan. The intimate relationship between speech and breath is a life principle that makes the very act of speech act sacred.

Words have a sacred, creative power. In Navajo creation stories, the Holy People spoke, sang, and prayed the world into existence. The uniting power of Holy Wind is the same force that fills the Holy People themselves with life, movement, speech, and behavior.

We have direct access to the thought and speech of the Holy Ones through breath and words. That Holy Wind, or soul, is our inner form, and so it is with all living beings. Beautiful.

The basket above is made by Navajo artist Chris Johnson.  As a member of the Betty Rock Johnson family, Chris has been schooled by the finest. Using richly traditional colors of red and black and a wind energy theme, Chris had made an interesting crossover piece. Chris’ weavings do not last long so don’t hesitate.

“Young Buck Prancing” Southwest Necklace Made from Deer Antler

James Olson uses natural materials and combines them with the finest in silversmithing to create unique Southwest jewelry for Twin Rocks Trading Post

James Olson uses natural materials and combines them with the finest in silversmithing to create unique Southwest jewelry.

From the fertile imagination of Jamie Olson comes a pin/pendent crafted of naturally shed deer antler with Utah jet and sterling silver.

Jamie has titled this piece, as much art as jewelry, “Young Buck Prancing”. When it comes to his jewelry designs and the material he uses to produce them, this gifted artist is cleverly creative. Wearing Jamie’s jewelry tells everyone you have impeccable taste. That’s fine and dandy. Most of all, it makes you feel as if you have a magic talisman.

James A. Olson, says of himself, the artist:

“About my work, or lack of, it chose me as much as I chose it. Asked where I get my ideas, I can’t really say for sure. I’m thankful I get them once in awhile, and have the basic skills to carry them through to a satisfactory condition, at that point and time. I’m blessed, I love what I do, it’s a passion. When that love and passion is not there, I’ll do something else.”

Jamie’s work is finally getting the notice and recognition it deserves. Galleries in Denver, and Big Parts Elsewhere, are discovering him. He may live in a little studio just across from Twin Rocks Gallery and Cafe in Bluff, but as often happens, the world comes to Bluff. What the world discovers is art from the heart. Art from the soul.

If you’re tempted to get one of Jamie’s pieces of jewelry, each one unique, now is the time. We in Bluff, UT are at the edge of the epicenter of nowhere, and thankfully so, but there is only so much Jamie to go around!

When Navajo Holy People Made Horse

The Navajo Creation Story of Horse

Here we’d like to share with you a wonderful story, for stories jumped to life at the same time as paintings. This is the Navajo story of First Horse.

“When the Holy People first made the horse, it was a complete thing, but it would not come to life.  They tried to get it to rise up on its strong legs, but it would not rise. Caterpillar was asked to help. ‘How can I help?’ he asked.

“’You know,’ one of the Holy People said, ‘where the sacred flints are kept.’”

“’Yes, this is true. But I am pretty slow getting around.’”

“Then the Holy People prayed over Caterpillar and he became Butterfly. Swiftly he flew to the Mountain Where Flint Is Kept. After gathering four flints, he returned to the Holy People and put the flints into the hooves of the horse.

The great horse stirred, quivered, and came to life. Then it surged, leaped fully into life, struck the air with its hooves, and galloped off into the clouds.

“’Look,” a Holy Person said. ‘The horse makes the marks of Butterfly when it dances on its hooves!’ And it has been that way ever since.”

Navajo people believe that there are Five Horses of the Sun Father. And, they believe that they are a way of telling time, Navajo-style. White shell and pearl horses represent dawn, turquoise is noon, red shell is sunset, and jet or coal is night.

(Twin Rocks Trading Post would like to acknowledge the book: An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navajo Language, 1929; The Franciscan Fathers.)

Stop in at Twin Rocks Café. (You might be able to pick up a copy of the Father’s book.) After you’ve enjoyed your Navajo Taco, stroll out the door and down the path to the Twin Rocks Trading Post. We’d be happy to share paintings by L. Holiday with you – they’re a favorite at our southwest gallery.

Enjoy this day of horses and all things mystical and beautiful!