Tufa Cast Textured Bracelet by Al Joe, Navajo Nation
Textured Bracelet, 2014, Al Joe, Navajo Nation, 5.75" around x 1.25" wide, tufa cast sterling silver
Best known for his dramatic designs, fabulous stones and intricate techniques, Alfred Joe was born the eldest son of Rose Ann and Robert Joe in Winslow, Arizona. He learned the basics of jewelry making from his Uncle Colbert Joe, Sr. He has worked with many prominent silversmiths, several of whom worked for him at the shop he operated in Winslow during the 1970s. "Little Squash" (the family's nickname for his oldest son) closed in 1979 when silver prices skyrocketed, giving him the freedom to concentrate on just his own work.
Al considers his work both traditional and contemporary, with an emphasis on contemporary designs. He has mastered a variety of techniques, such as hollow forming, overlay and raising metal. He enjoys working with natural turquoise stones from the famous older mines: Lander, Bisbee, Morenci and Indian Mountain, but also uses lapis, coral and other stones. Al's double-sided pendants are prized because of the magnificent stones he uses, each side with a different stone and different design. His striking silver and gold beads stand out from others with the innovative rail design he creates by placing strips of metal between the two halves of the beads. His signature rug design bracelets get their dramatic design from an overlay of silver dust he uses to provide texture and contrast.
His work has won numerous awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market, Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial, Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show and the Navajo Market Place at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Alfred Joe was named the Indian Arts and Crafts Association Artist of the Year for 2001, a well-deserved honor for this innovative artist.