Tribal Affiliation: Yaqui
Few silversmiths match the power and artistry of Art Tafoya. He specializes in silver. Hammered silver. The old way. Art Tafoya carries on that tradition of the early masters, for he makes his own stamps and dies. Art’s clear and crisp stamp work speaks of skill and talent born of that tradition. Thick silver, hammered like leather, only deeper, brisk, clear and lovely.
Art Tafoya, silversmith and artist, learned the basics of silversmithing at the age to twelve from a blacksmith at a riding stable near his home. Later he learned the art of making handmade stamps and dies from Carlos White Eagle, a former student of the legendary Navajo silversmith Fred Peshlakai. Art has made an exhaustive study of Fred Peshlakai’s stamps and is an expert at identifying even unsigned work by this master. All of Art’s stamps and dies are his own creations. He specializes in hand stamped old-style jewelry reminiscent of Peshlakai’s, but definitely all of his own.
His original jewelry is highly sought after by collectors worldwide. He was a silversmith in residence at The Turquoise Shop at Knotts Berry Farm in California for twenty-five years before relocating to New Mexico. His work may be found in the permanent collection of the Albuquerque Museum, the Grove Encyclopedia of American Art and his work is included in the book Navajo Silversmith Fred Peshlakai, His Life and Art.