Priscilla Nieto and Harvey Abeyta
Santa Domingo Pueblo
The Santo Domingo Pueblo people of New Mexico are known worldwide for their talents as lapidary artists. Bead making is a timeless art form that has changed little over the years. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Santo Domingo people actively mined turquoise from what is now the Cerrillos Mine, and made turquoise necklaces which were used for trading between tribes. Each bead was entirely cut, shaped, drilled and polished by hand. Today, many of the village's people make jewelry, pottery, and beaded art work. . Santo Domingo is one of the most conservative Pueblos; pride in native history and customs is very strong. Eighty percent of children entering school speak Keresan, their native language.
Priscilla and Harvey are well respected artists and are recognized for their intricate and painstakingly executed jewelry. They are known primarily for designing and creating necklaces, and the process from original concept to final product is an arduous one. They live, and have raised their five children in the Santo Domingo Pueblo. Their work can be found in fine galleries across the United States. They also show annually at the Santa Fe Indian Market.
“We put good intentions into our work, and look forward to the person who will wear it. We do a prayer- a blessing- for the wearer of the piece, and we hope they accept this with their heart- all of the teaching from the Parents and from our Family. Wear it in good health, with protection. That is what makes me happy. This all comes from Mother Earth, and like a mother cradles her children, Mother Earth does the same thing, providing us the materials. I just want to pass on what I’ve learned from my parents, and share it with others. What really matters is how you learned, how you pass it on, and the look in someone’s eye. It feels good. It has good energy.”--Priscilla Nieto