Joe and Valerie Calabaza
(Santo Domingo) (Kewa)
Joe R. Calabaza and his wife Valerie F. Calabaza are American Indian artists from Kewa Pueblo, also known as, Santo Domingo Pueblo. Joe was born and raised in Kewa Pueblo by his parents, Joseph F. and Mary Ann Calabaza. As a young child, he was taught the skills and craftsmanship of Jewelry making. His great grandfather, Patricio Calabaza, played a major role in teaching him the skilled techniques, as well as his parents.
Together, the Calabaza family has become well-known for their beautiful super-fine heishe work. Heishe, is a form of bead making using natural stones such as turquoise, serpentine, black jet, pipestone, etc. Not only does Joe specialize in heishe bead making but he does inlay mosaic work and silver/metal work. At present, Joe has taught his wife and children the same skills and crafts-man ship. It was his great grandfather’s dream that this skilled trade would be passed down from one generation to the next.
Mr. Calabaza and his family work to keep the tradition alive by participating in art shows across the Southwest and across the country. He has shared his work at the following art shows: SWAIA’s Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Guild Arts and Craft Show, Museum of Indigenous Show, Sharlot Hall Museum Show and the National Museum of the American Indian –Smithsonian Institution art show in Washington D.C. But more importantly, Joe and Valerie, enjoy teaching their grandchildren the value and importance behind the artwork.