This design takes its inspiration from the fata morgana mirages or as they are sometimes called "floating mountain" mirages. The optical effect of this dramatic mirage has astonished explorers throughout history. Some have suggested the origin of Coronado's fabled cities of gold was inspired by this mirage reflected from the golden colors of the desert. The illusion of a mountain or city seen floating above the horizon can be explained by the refraction of light and perspective but that doesn't diminish the experience. This type of mirage has the unique effect of widening the object in the distance. Here, a base circle marks a single point of view that looks up to a curved bar floating above the horizon on radiating shimmer lines.
Available July 2016
In 1947 a crash site near Roswell NM became one of the most well known events of the UFO mythology. It is rumored that the alien technology from that site was taken to the top secret research facility at Area 51 in Nevada. This pendant suggests a mysterious metal form rising into the desert sky through the concentric waves of a shimmering heat mirage.
Dragonflies are venerated everywhere they are found and symbolize a lightness of the soul and agility of the mind. The dragonfly motif is found in the arts and crafts around the world with a unique significance in our Southwest region. When Spanish missionaries introduced symbolic crosses, especially the double-barred cross, they were eventually adapted into a wide variety of patterns including many representations of dragonflies still found in arts and crafts throughout the region.
We introduce our take on this iconic double winged flier. Our recall of spring days and warm summer nights by the Rio Grande is inseparable from the acrobatics and flash of color from our local dragonflies. They are one of the earths earliest fliers, over 300 million years old but their enthusiastic flight and simple silhouettes are utterly timeless.
Click for pricing: Dragonfly Necklace
Inspired by the mota tassels on traditional mecate horse ropes used by Vaqueros in the early Southwest, the making of mecate is an artisinal tradition that has been passed down by masters of the craft. Very few working rope makers keep the tradition alive today. It originated from Spain by way of the Conquistadors and moved across the colonial Southwest. The mota tassel is a balance point for the rope and in use its dance is hypnotic. It expresses the dialogue between rider and horse. It sways with the riders guiding gestures. This pendant expresses that form and subtle movement, with metal ball details echoing the traditional turban knot that secures the tassels on a mecate, but here catching light as the pendant moves with the wearer.
Style will be available July 2016
Only a few icons of the southwest are as inseparable from Western culture as the horse saddle. The image of the cowboy rolling his blanket and tightening the straps on his saddle were instant cues in western movies that a journey was beginning, the doing was about to be done. That distinct u shape with its high pommel and stirrups has evolved over centuries to make a man and horse into a hybrid creature that tamed lands, waged war, and created a uniquely American identity. The Spanish colonials brought horses and saddles to the Southwest. Their design evolved into two styles with a California style of highly decorated and stylized saddles and the Texas/New Mexico style of unadorned working saddles. It is that simpler style that inspires our saddle line with that high pommel and long strands that suggest the classic stirrups.
Plumeria is a tradition of artisanal feather-work that evolved from our earliest evidence of the techniques in Meso-america to its height in the 17th century under Spanish Colonial rule. From ceremonial clothing to collage styled artwork the use of feathers for decorative and symbolic purpose is literally woven into the cultural history of the American Southwest. Over more than a century the exchange of technique and artistic subject matter between the Spaniards and the indigenous people led to the use of feathers as material and accents in all arts and crafts. The universal association of feathers with the freedom of flight and spirituality made its use in Catholic iconography an easy match and let to the spread of artisanal plumeria around the world to royal courts as far away as Prague, China, and Mozambique. The tradition all but disappeared by the twentieth century. A few modern artists in the American Southwest and Northern Mexico have created work inspired by these traditions. The simplicity of the feather's shape and its physical lightness will always elicit a sense of mystery and movement. This line is inspired by the evolution of the symbol and the object through our regional culture.
The Very Large Array, (VLA), is a premier astronomical radio observatory, consisting of 27 radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration on the Plains of San Agustin, in New Mexico. The antenna intercept signals from the deepest expanse of space, measuring patterns of change as the earth rotates. Like a dream-catcher, these cosmic nets gather moments beyond our senses to reveal small truths from an infinite time and space.
Seashells have long been a part of the history and traditions of New Mexico. A millenia ago the southwest was a lush coastal region formed by a western interior sea that left the fossil shells we find today on our high plateaus and desert floors. In the eleventh century, store houses at the Chaco canyon settlements overflowed with shells traded across the Americas. Those shells established a tradition of ornamentation using shells and shell motifs. Today, research is underway at the Sandia National Labs to emulate the properties of seashell structures.
The seashell necklace is our contribution to this ongoing relationship. Available in three configurations. We hope you feel the ancient magic of the shells when you wear it.
That spiral of diamonds, suggests the form of a most respected resident of the desert. The diamondback rattlesnake is a highly evolved and elegant creature living throughout the Southwest. It has appeared in the earliest lore and cautionary tales of this region. This pendant conveys the hypnotic turns and the gathered energy of that coiled shape.
Starting as a functional addition to buckskin, fringe became a western embellishment that was later adopted by flapper girls to accentuate the wild spontaneity of their dancing.
This fringe necklace borrows from both traditions in a minimalist reimagining of this iconic design element.
Drawing from the work of Agnes Martin we have a chance to follow a little way on the path of a master who also made the New Mexico desert her physical and creative home. We have taken as a point of reference the grid motif that dominated her middle career. Standing on a mesa in the desert you begin to understand what she saw in this landscape. Surrounded by impossibly long views to the horizon, facing that empty and silent space, we impose our own order and direction. We make patterns to civilize ourselves and grids to find our way.
This pattern is inspired by the Hopi Squash Blossom hairdo worn by young women to announce their availability for courtship and marriage. It expresses an intrinsically feminine design language.
Cut from a single piece of leather, this necklace displays thirteen individual whorls linked together by an unbroken line that unites them.
Barrettes and rings available July 2016
Our reinvention of the Squash Blossom and Leia Necklaces. Experimenting with volume inspired by the Hopi Squash Blossom hairdo worn by young women to announce their availability for courtship and marriage. It expresses an intrinsically feminine design language.
The high desert connects with its inhabitants in unique ways. The haunting feeling of this landscape comes from its ability to preserve a sense of vast time and memory in the silence and distance of its open spaces and in the water carved sandstone canyons. In the area of the Chaco Canyon a civilization etched into the landscape a memory of their culture, preserved by the climate, and still speaking to us in a language of form that is abstract but also visceral. Between AD 850 and AD 1150 the ancestral Puebloan people designed and built Pueblo Bonito - center of the Chacoan world. The site has been studied for over one hundred and fifty years and it still keeps many secrets. Current thinking suggests that Pueblo Bonito was a ritual center. Pueblo Bonito is divided into two by a precisely aligned wall, running north to south, through the central plaza. This pendant is folded along that wall.
This 3-D printed pendant combines the ancient form of the site with contemporary technology. Removing the pueblo from its context changes its significance. The language of the form speaks to everyone differently. To some the pendant resembles a meteorite. Others recognize Pueblo Bonito and it surfaces their own connections to place. We are straining to decipher what is an echo of another time and place, another world.
There may be no more iconic symbol of the American West than the Cowboy Hat. Classic Western films spread the image of the cowboy hat around the world making the hat indistinguishable from American ideas of chivalry and of a cowboy code. Tipping the hat is a gesture with a long history. To other men a simple tug of the hat brim would do but to impress a lady the gesture was always grander and with a romantic flair, offering a deep bow and sweep of the hat.
It's this gesture that inspires our new leather basket. Taking design cues from the upturned cowboy hat with its shallow bowl and the inverted "carlsbad crease" in the center, this bowl casts an intricate shadow with its lattice work pattern. It is a table piece and it's a nod to those rough romantics on the silver screen.
The skeleton of the ocotillo stalk is a distinct artifact of the Southwestern desert and its latticework pattern is the inspiration for these bold necklaces. Legendary for its exceptional strength and vigor, the ocotillo is an ancient resident of the rocky desert hills whose name is a Spanish derivation of the Aztec word for pine.
How do you reimagine an icon? Take the cow skull, shorthand for the merciless and barren desert. Deconstruct it and rebuild it as a constellation of individual circles. Cut it from chap leather Reimagine it once more by superimposing your own story. Over time the bracelet will take the bend and folds of your own body.
A chevron progression study where the "V" softens from top to bottom. Inspired by Native American bone hairpipe breastplates.
Breastplates had originally been worn ceremonially as a symbol of protection of the spirit and as an expression of personal style and wealth.
Chevron pattern inspired by local Navajo weaving patterns. Adapted from Germantown "Eyedazzler" blankets and the hourglass motif - an archetypal symbol of Navajo cosmology. A streamlined UFO aesthetic mixed in for good measure
In Western New Mexico, the area of land known as El Malpais has a reputation as a desolate and impenetrably hard region of volcanic rock covered sandstone. The black surface has given rise to generations of legends and mythologies. The El Malpais necklace appropriates the aesthetic tension between smooth surfaces and fractured lines.
El Malpais photographs by our dear friend Melissa Cicetti.
Barrette available July 2016
Oryx were introduced into Southern New Mexico's White Sands Missile Range (Trinity site) in 1969 as exotic big game. Coyotes and mountain lions posed no threat and the Oryx thrived, tipping the balance of the White Sands National Monument's ecosystem. The stylized image of stark black horns against white gypsum sands is one only conjured up in dreams. I received an Oryx skull with horns from a friend (thanks, Matt) whose father found while walking near White Sands.
This sculptural piece takes formal inspiration from the seed-pod of a Southwestern plant referred to as the Devil's Claw. We periodically find it in our backyard - its claw shape is designed to be picked up by hooves and be carried long distances. The plant became a favorite source material for basket weaving and was widely cultivated for centuries.
Seed-Pod clutch and bag available July 2016
Tumbling squares arranged to make a bold necklace. A study in geometry inspired by shadows moving across the adobe massing of the Taos pueblo.
Click for pricing: Pueblo Squares Necklace.
Mañana doesn’t mean tomorrow and it doesn’t mean in the morning. It means we aren’t going to worry right now. A word that wards off all of life's little concerns. Mañana is in the New Mexico way of life and the local sense of humor. The mirrored italicized text alludes to New Mexico's fast speed highways connecting remote towns and mirages in the desert.
The typography is set in an image from Eastern New Mexico, the area of land known as White Sands has a reputation as a desolate white gypsum sands one could only conjured up in dreams. The white surface has given rise to generations of legends and mythologies.
This Chaco silk scarf combines the ancient form of the site with its inherently graphic qualities. Removing the pueblo from its context allows the language of the form to speak to everyone differently. To some the graphic resembles a meteorite. Others recognize Pueblo Bonito and it surfaces their own connections to place. This study is straining to decipher what lies in an echo of another time and place, another world.
Pricing available upon request