Artist: Mark Chee March 16 2016
We recently posted a Mark Chee belt buckle, but what do we know about him…? Like many other Native Americans, he attended a boarding school: Fort Defiance boarding school, to be exact. He began school at the age of 10 and completed his education in 11th grade.
Shortly there after, he arrived in Santa Fe eager to work, and work he did. Chee polished stones for $5.00 a week. One can suppose that he began to hone his stone working skills here. He moved on to be a benchsmith for well-known silversmiths, Frank Patania and Al Packard.
He produced most of his art from 1930 to the late 1960s; each piece carries his hallmark of a stamped bird containing his last name. He was became an important silversmith for the Mid-20th century and is well know and highly collected.
His jewelry is characterized by the use of heavy silver, stampwork, and set stones. Later in his career he branched out into crafting beautiful sets of flatware.