Zuni Pueblo is a village of many artists who have perfected their skills from years of intricate labor, and help from multigenerational talent. In 1987, I began my quest to learn to make Zuni jewelry. Self-taught in the art and fabrication of soldering sterling silver, cutting, grinding, sanding, and polishing the stones; I would consult my mother, Eileen Lucio, an artist, for her advice. Through the years, I have learned new techniques in soldering silver, inlaying the stones, sanding and polishing the pieces to a glossy and more refined finish. I use traditional stones; turquoise, red coral, Acoma jet, and mother of pearl.
However, as an artist, I am willing to try something new. I began to experiment with other types of turquoise, lapis, sugalite, various types of sea shells: red, orange, and purple spiney oyster shell. My art work has evolved over the years and I have become more in tune with my skills and abilities. I have learned that if my mind is not focused to work and I become impatient, then I do not produce a quality piece of art. Therefore, making Zuni jewelry takes a lot of time and patience. At this time, I am confident to say that my caliber of art is comparable to some of the more well-known artists of Zuni Pueblo.
“I become inspired for designs by observing my surroundings; taking nature walk s, pondering Zuni history and culture, looking through art magazines or looking at historic photographs of Zuni Pueblo. I designed my trademark stamp after Zuni’s mighty Dowa Ya:la’ne’ (Com Mountain). When I’m making a custom piece for an individual, I try to make a design that would match their personality.”