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Roy Talahaftewa
HOPI SILVERSMITH

Roy Talahaftewa was born August 25, 1965. His silver and gold jewelry spans different techniques and designs, and he works comfortably with a variety of materials. He creates detail pictorials patterns in the silver overlay technique, but also makes tufa cast abstract designs in gold and silver. In all of the jewelry he makes, his designs are derived from elements in Hopi life and culture.

Roy participated in a youth placement program as a maintenance staff at the Hopi Cooperative Guild. While there, he learned many jewelry-making techniques through observation. He also talked with noted painter Fred Kabotie, who advised him about tools he would need to do jewelry making on his own. Through determination and experimentation, Roy mastered overlay and the more intricate aspects of jewelry construction.

Roy was a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where he majored in painting and dabbled in photography. After school hours, Roy would watch Allen Houser work on sculpture, and listen carefully to advice he gave. In 1977, Roy returned to Arizona. Although he maintained and interest in painting, he found that his jewelry was more highly sought after. He worked at Hopi Craftsman Guild for one year, and then moved to Phoenix where he lived until 1994.

Talahaftewa takes pride in making highly individualized jewelry. He says of his work, "Everything I do is one of a kind. I free hand draw. I don't use patterns or templates. When it'd done it's done. I would rather have my customers feel that they have a one of a kind piece."

Roy also combines overlay with tufa casting and ads inlay work. In recent years, his work has become more three-dimensional in scope.

Talahaftewa has received many awards for his work including Best of Show at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Craft Show and a Best of Show at the Santa Fe Indian Market.