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About the Art

Wings at Workbench 2014 B



NDN Silver Wearable Art

Wings creates stunning wearable art reflecting Native themes. Each piece is one of a kind: Every client rests assured that she or he owns and wears a unique, original piece.


Laying the Foundation

Wings works exclusively in sterling silver of 98.9% purity, ranging in thickness from heavy nine-gauge to delicate, paper-thin 26-gauge.  The gauge chosen for a particular piece depends upon both the form of the art and the process that will be used to create it.

Using a jeweler’s saw or shears, Wings cuts and shapes every piece by hand.  He uses traditional silverwork processes to give form and expression to a piece:  Ajouré, anticlastic raising, overlay, repoussé, and underlay are only a few of these techniques.  Many pieces require extensive and meticulous soldering; some include such details as handcrafted jump-rings, bezel-set gemstones, or delicate twisted silver trim; and some pieces are highly polished, while others are given a soft patina finish.

Wings specializes in the ancient metalwork process of hand-stamping, which has a long and time-honored history among Native American metalsmiths and artisans.  Stamps today are made of heavy metal dies with a design cut into the end.  The silver is seated on a small anvil, and the patterned end of the stamp is placed against its surface.  The other end of the die is struck with a jeweler’s hammer, transferring the design from the die to the silver.

Telling the Story

By far, the most highly personal element of Wings’s creative process involves his use of hand-stamping techniques.  Some stamp designs are nearly universal throughout Native cultures, and are basic elements of any Native silversmith’s toolkit; some hold very specific meanings for Pueblo peoples.  Celestial symbols, such as the sun, the moon, and the Morning Star, are popular and versatile.  Fertility symbols, including thunderheads, rain, and water, as well as plant images such as cactus blossoms, are also common.  Human symbols, such as the hand or the heart, as well as animal motifs, have a time-honored history in Native art.  Some of the most powerful symbols, however, are those related to the life cycle:  the Four Sacred Directions; medicine wheels; the swastika; or the Zia sun symbol, a central circle with four spokes on each side stretching outward to the Four Directions.  Stamps in simple geometric patterns, which can be combined to create larger or more complex designs, are also common.

Using traditional Native symbols and patterns, Wings uses hand-stamping to give voice to ancient stories and lessons.  Sometimes one symbol can tell an entire story.  Many stories and lessons are more complex, and this is where Wings’s talent, creativity, and knowledge of tradition find their deepest expression:  As the Ancient Ones left their stories for us on rock walls and sacred pots, so, too, Wings blends discrete symbols to create a greater whole.  By choosing patterns in the right combinations, and in the right number of repetitions, he creates complex, multi-layered symbols that share larger, more complete stories and lessons.

Another element of the creative process may involve choosing the appropriate stone(s) for a piece of art.  Wings works most often with traditional turquoise, known by some Pueblo peoples as the skystone because of its stunning blue color.  Turquoise comes in a broad array of colors and shades:  from deep, dark blue to palest robin’s egg blue; from dark, mysterious jade green to chartreuse and golden yellow; and the sacred White Buffalo turquoise.  Wings also uses other gemstones, choosing stones appropriate to each individual piece of art and the creative spirit that suffuses it.  Recent pieces have spanned the colors of the rainbow, containing settings of amber, amethyst, coral, garnet, jasper, lapis, malachite, moonstone, onyx, opal, peridot, and rose quartz.

Blessings of the Spirit

Finally, when a piece of art is complete, one final step remains:  Wings ritually blesses each piece of art before offering it for sale, infusing it with the same sacred healing spirit that made its creation possible.


Wings of the Wind Photography

Wings first launched Wings of the Wind to showcase his efforts to capture the spirit of Taos Pueblo. Most Pueblo photographs that are publicly available have been taken by outsiders; very little photographic imagery by Pueblo members exists. To preserve the sacred beauty of Taos Pueblo, its people, and its culture and traditions, Wings began recording these images on film.

Emergence Cropped

Wings works with both digital media and film, color and black and white.  In either medium, the ethereal light in the Taos Pueblo area is ideal for capturing the mystical, spiritual qualities of Pueblo life.  In photo studies shot at different times of the day, under different weather conditions, and during different seasons of the year, Wings works with this magical natural light to illustrate the stunning dichotomy between the transformative and enduring natures of the Pueblo.

Over the years, Wings’s choice in photographic subjects has evolved to extend beyond the Pueblo itself to the surrounding lands and mountains, all of which originally belonged to his people, and to his own lands, which have been in his family for generations.  Frequent subjects include the stark and dramatic landscape; celestial and seasonal elements; indigenous life, including animal and plant studies; and his own horses and dogs.  Special orders for specific subjects are welcome.


All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2015; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owners.

error: All content copyright Wings & Aji; all rights reserved. Copying or any other use prohibited without the express written consent of the owners.