Horse Monument Cuff
Horse Monument Cuff handmade by Navajo artist Ira Custer. This striking piece of wearable art features a beautiful multi stone mosaic design with horses running free in front of a back drop of mountains. What a remarkable display of true craftsmanship. The bracelet measures 1 1/4 inches wide with an inside circumference of 5 1/2 inches from end to end with a 1 1/4 inch wide opening.
The Art of Sandcasting
Sandcasting as a jewelry-making technique used by the Pueblo peoples of the Southwest dates back to the mid-seventeenth century. Silversmithing techniques were brought to the New World by the Spanish and taught to the people of Mexico. By the 1850s, Native peoples in the Four Corners area had acquired some silver work from Mexican craftsmen through trading. Wanting to know the art themselves, they traded livestock in exchange for silversmithing lessons. One of the techniques taught to the Navajo (who then passed it on to the Zuni who passed it on to the Hopi) was the practice of creating a mold out of sand—sandcasting.
Every sandcast piece is truly original because the mold is destroyed by the poured silver.
Unlike sterling silver pieces by many commercial jewelry makers that shine, sandcasting leaves a matte finish, giving the silver a sense of the antique.
Native American Artist: Ira Custer
Ira Custer, a full-blooded Navajo from Manuelito, New Mexico was born to the Todich ii nii (Bitter Water) clan for the Naaneesht ezhi (Charcoal Streaked) clan in July of 1964. Custer now resides at Defiance, New Mexico near Gallup.
His background in silversmithing came from his parents, Benny and Emily Custer and from his grandparents. He has taken the traditional aspects of silversmithing and combined them with his cultural values and instilled them into each piece of art he creates. Sandcasting has become his specialty. He enjoys working with the traditional patterns of sandcasting handed down from generations of family silversmiths and also creating his own unique designs. Custer also likes working with contemporary platework.
An active member of the SWAIA, IACA, American Indian Council and the Inter-Tribal Ceremonials Association, Custer has served as a jewelry judge on various shows. Custer has received many awards and his pieces can be found in many fine galleries and museums across the North and Southwestern United States and Europe.