Indian Arts & Crafts Association announces 2009 Artist of the Year

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Indian Arts and Crafts Association supports its member artists through its Artist of the Year competition held each spring. These awards for artistic excellence are based on creativity, craftsmanship and appeal by a panel of former IACA Artist of the Year winners and IACA officers.

The Artist of the Year is chosen from the first place winners of the following categories: Jewelry-Metalsmithing 1st: Alfred Joe, Navajo – 14k gold necklace with gold fluted beads

2nd: George Willis, Choctaw – “We Are All Connected,” buffalo horn box with pendant and chain

3rd: Ronnie Henry, Navajo – Broken arrow necklace and earrings, 14k gold set with diamonds and Kingman turquoise Jewelry-Lapidary 1st: Charlene Sanchez Reano, San Felipe Pueblo – Reversible mosaic inlay necklace with Kingman turquoise, shell and spiny oyster

2nd: Charlene Sanchez Reano, San Felipe Pueblo – Reversible mosaic inlay necklace with teardrop shaped tabs of Kingman turquoise, shell and spiny oyster

3rd: Christopher Thomas Nieto, Santo Domingo Pueblo – Mosaic inlay round Conus shell pendant and bracelet Sculpture-Small Scale 1st: Eddie Morrison, Cherokee Nation – “Waiting Lady,” cedar wood inlaid with Emerald Valley turquoise

2nd: Pam Lujan Hauer, Taos Pueblo – “Rock Art of New Mexico,” native white clay with silver inlay, glazed, kiln and pit fired

3rd: Eddie Morrison, Cherokee Nation – “Bear Man,” cedar wood with turquoise cabachon Traditional Crafts 1st: George Willis, Choctaw – Knife with a deer and buffalo horn handle and Damascus blade

2nd: Tammy Beauvais, Mohawk – “Tree of Life,” cashmere wool cape with appliqué design Pottery 1st: Mary Small, Jemez Pueblo – Red clay plate with painted eagle design

2nd: Caroline Carpio, Isleta Pueblo – “River of Life,” clay pot with wave top inlaid with turquoise and gold beads




This year, the top award “2009 Artist of the Year” went to Navajo jeweler Alfred Joe. He is one of two artists who have won this prestigious award twice. The other two-time award winner is Charlie Pratt (1985 and 2004), a Cheyenne-Arapaho sculptor who served as honorary co-chair of the awards banquet where the award was presented to Joe.

Joe is a jeweler who has mastered a variety of metalsmithing techniques, from hollow forming, overlay and raised metal. He works in gold and silver, often setting his pieces with high quality natural turquoise stones from famous older American mines. In 2001, he won the Artist of the Year for one of his prized double-sided pendants set on each side with a different stone and different design strung on exceptional handmade silver beads. This year, his handmade, hollow, fluted gold beads won his second Artist of the Year award.

Established in 1974, IACA has an international membership of artists, tribal enterprises, retailers, wholesalers, museums, collectors and others who support the mission of IACA, “to promote, preserve and protect” art made by American Indian artists in the United States and Canada.