Jennifer Curtis, the most respected woman Navajo silversmith working today in a traditional yet innovative style, is known for her stamp and file designs with heavy-gauge sterling silver.
On her process for heavy bracelets, Jennifer says:
“I lay out the design on square wire while it’s still flat, stamp where I need and chisel the lines on all sides. I bend the thick silver wire on metal shaft by hand. Than I file the design with regular rectangular metal file, which is hours of labor. Before the final buffing and polish, you can see all the file marks.”
Growing up on the Navajo reservation near Winslow, Arizona, Jennifer learned her craft from her father, Thomas Curtis, Sr., himself an award-winning silversmith, beginning at eight years old. She began to work on her own after graduating high school. In an interview with Shiprock Santa Fe, she notes: “My work is an extension of my history, my family. My biggest influence is my master, my teacher, my father. His recent passing has brought special meaning to each swing of the hammer, each design I create. My family is the center of my existence; I make work that is balanced and proportionate always with a physical center that mirrors the spiritual.”
Jennifer has won many first place prizes at the Santa Fe Indian Market.