November is Native American History Month! Since time memorial, the Santa Domingo Pueblo Native Americans have traded seashells from the gulf of California and the Pacific over regular trade routes. Pendants cut from these glossy shells in various forms were overlaid with designs in abalone, jet, and turquoise. This month students are learning about artist and jeweler, Mary Coriz Lovato.
Mary Lovato is known for her unique mosaic inlay, shell work, cast, and stamp-work jewelry. Her specialty is inlaid shell earrings and pendants. These lovely pieces are a blend of the contemporary and traditional styles, but Mary strives to maintain tradition above all. “My mother and mostly my father were my teachers. I was brought up very traditional,” she recalls. “We have kept traditional jewelry going here because it is worn for our dances,” says Mary, who lives at her Santo Domingo Pueblo home outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.Mary Lovato’s work is so phenomenal that many say it has become a standard by which shell inlaid jewelry is measured. During the months of November and December, students will be learning about this artist and creating masterpieces based on her artwork.