Valerie Jade Calabaza
Santo Domingo (Kewa)
It is an enormous pleasure to now work with the next generation of Calabazas from Santo Domingo (Kewa) I worked directly with Joseph and Mary Ann for many years, When they passed away, I continued to work with their son, Joseph Jr and his wife. And now, we are thrilled to introduce the work of their granddaughter, Valerie Jade. Here is the biographical information she has given me to share:
“I, Valerie J. Calabaza, carrying late-grandparents Joseph F. and Mary Ann Calabaza’s family legacy from Santo Domingo (Kewa) Pueblo, New Mexico. They learned to create each piece from our great-grandfather, Patricio Calabaza. He taught us how to take a simple piece of turquoise, mold it, and create a beautiful necklace. As our family began to grow, their five children Joseph R., Joseph A., Aldon, DeAlva, and Irvin Calabaza, participated within the process for Joe and Mary’s creations. By making our necklaces with a little heavier texture from turquoise, lapis, coral, spiny oyster shells and other various stones then critiqued it to a finer finish. As years passed Joseph F. and Mary Ann taught Valerie Jade Calabaza, me, the traditional inlay on spiny oyster shells. In which I was inspired by the traditional Thunderbird necklaces made during the Great Depression by the Santo Domingo (Kewa) Pueblo people. Over time and lots of patience, I assisted and learned the super fine quality my grandparents made.
Each piece of necklace has its own special unique quality behind it because each piece is individually handcrafted. We guarantee all our work is authentically handmade and crafted.
This type of artwork has been passed down for many generations, and we continue to pass it down to our children and grandchildren. It is important to us that we keep our artwork alive because not only does it bring us joy, but it is a representation of our traditional values.”