Monday, July 11, 2016
Yellow Solar Seed/ Yellow Cosmic Warrior - Cosmic Turtle Moon of Presence, Day 15
Victor Coochwytewa, Hopi Maiden Gold Cuff.
Victor Coochwytewa was one of three Native American elders chosen as Arizona Indian Living Treasures at the seventh annual AILTA award ceremony held in Phoenix in September 1994. This recognition is but one of the many accolades bestowed upon the Master Hopi Jeweler in a career spanning more than half a century.
Born on June 7, 1922 at Shungopavi on Second Mesa in Northern Arizona, Victor is a member of the Waterhouse Clan. His earliest ventures in Hopi overlay jewelry began in 1940 under the tutelage of Paul Saufkie. After joining the Army during World War II, Victor found himself in the South Pacific. From the 167th Combat Military Police he transferred to the 5309th Infantry Division under General Merle’s Marauders and saw heavy combat action in the Burma area. Victor earned the Purple Heart, Good Conduct and Asiatic Ribbons.
Discharged in 1946, he returned to the Hopi Mesas to become one of Paul Saufkie’s and Fred Kabotie’s first students in their jewelry-making classes that were just forming under the auspices of the G.I. Bill. What became known as the The Veteran’s Classes, provided opportunity for new beginnings.
Victor brought to the table a unique dimension to the Hopi overlay jewelry technique that was being developed in those early days. Adapting a leather work method that he had learned, Victor began to texturize the background of his designs adding a subtle enhancement to the finished piece. This fine matting procedure remains signature to Hopi jewelry of today.
Kopavi began a working relationship with Victor Coochwytewa in 1974. Proprietors Richard & Margo Mehagian, found friendship & inspiration from the well-spring of Victor’s designs that came from deep within him. With Kopavi providing silver and introducing gold & precious stones, Victor began to record in his jewelry what he experienced around him, elevating everyday Hopi life into jeweled art!
In 1976 Kopavi opened in Sedona, Arizona, specializing in Hopi Gold & Silver presenting Victor Coochwytewa’s work along with other outstanding Hopi silversmiths. Despite winning top awards from the Heard Museum in Phoenix, as well as the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Gallup New Mexico Intertribal Ceremonial, and the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff and being featured in Arizona Highways and American Indian Art, Victor remains humble about his career.
"Jewelry is my hobby; Corn is my work!” Victor says with a twinkle in his eye. A dry-land farmer - he uses no irrigation, chemical fertilizers or pesticides, it is the Hopi Way. He works in his fields in the mornings and does his silversmithing in the afternoons. His dry farmed corn, squash, beans and watermelons have won as many honors as his jewelry A Hopi religious leader of the highest order who devotes as much time to religious ceremonials as he does to his farming and his jewelry, Victor attributes his good crops to blessings from the Creator.
"Every year when I plant, I pray that the crops will be nourished with rain. When you pray, you should pray for all things, and in return, all things are benefited. Nothing can be accomplished without prayer," says this artist who is as proud of the multicolored corn drying in the sun on his rooftop as he is as of his jewelry that has found its way into prominent collections in this country and abroad.
Victor retired from Hopi Silversmithing and his beloved farming in 2006. He continued living with his family at Hopi. Victor passed away at the age of 89 on July 3, 2011.
Kin 204: Yellow Solar Seed
I pulse in order to target
I seal the input of flowering
With the solar tone of intention
I am guided by the power of universal fire.
Remember that life is wearing off and a smaller part of it remains daily.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2015-2016.
The Sacred Tzolkin
Sahasrara Chakra (Dali Plasma)