Artist Spotlight: Ben Begay
Working closely with Native American artists on a day to day basis is one of the great pleasures of our business. Even more rewarding is watching artists evolve over time, perfecting skills and designs, and creating new ones. Navajo silversmith Ben Begay, this month’s Artist Spotlight, is a perfect example of the evolution of talent, having begun trading with us in the 1980s and continuing to this day.
Ben Begay was born on August 13, 1960 to Mae and Hosteen Begay. He began his career in jewelry as a buffer at the Turquoise Nugget jewelry shop in Flagstaff, Arizona, along with his sister and brother-in-law. To this day, Ben enjoys every aspect of his craft…except buffing!
Ben was only 14 years old when he started working with silver, and just 16 when he sold his first piece of jewelry. He then went on to develop his signature feather design, which stole the show in Delta, Colorado, and went on to make him a household name due to the design’s intricacy and detail. Additionally, Ben has created his own stamping tools, featuring tight spacing, contributing to the fineness and quality of his pieces. He tells us that his favorite designs are intricate cuff bracelets with feather and leaf designs, the leaf a newer design of his inspired by a single leaf found in his doorway.
It’s been a pleasure to work with Ben for the better part of three decades, and we can’t wait to see how he continues to evolve and improve his craft.