Contact Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
2401 12th St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
Dyaami Lewis - Workshop Registration
No refunds within 48hours of class. All refunds are subject to a late fee of 4.99% of ticket price plus $2.
N/ASales ended 04-30-2012 06:30PM
Every Tues & Thurs (6:30-8:30 p.m.), and Sat
(10a-3p) for the month of May 2012. First Class May 1st
Location: IPCC Art Classroom Bldg.
Registration Fee: $220.00 All materials included.
The style of silver-work made by Dyaami is called repousse relief decoration. This is a bronze-age metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side. They start with flat stock sheets of sterling, copper or brass ranging from 30 to 12 gauge thickness. Their handmade tools are fashioned from old files and tool steel bar. These tools feature hand-wrought designs, finished with heat treatment to make them strong and hard. The tooled designs are stamped into the measured flat sheets of silver with a hammer, creating an impression of that design. A ball-pin hammer is used to push the designs out. Other tools include rawhide mallet, files, sheet-metal shears and a jeweler's saw. The only modern equipment used in this work is the oxygen-acetylene torch and the buffing wheel, which give their finished pieces a high quality polish.
BIOGRAPHY of Dyaami Lewis....A Tribe of Men, Labeled as Artisans, with Reputations to Defend
The first metals to touch the Lewis family hands were those from the village of Acomita on the Pueblo of Acoma. Wilber and Clyde Hunt, two great uncles of Alvin Lewis, spent years holding iron and steel in place to be worked and forged to make wagons and their personal tools. Eventually Wilber and Clyde refocused their talents into the art of the silversmith.
Alvin Lewis' first hands-on experience with silver smithing came when he was fifteen. His trademark was established as the Arrowhead in 1922. The idea came to him from a birth mark on his right leg, which looked like an arrowhead. From 1925 to 1938 he worked as an apprentice silversmith with Gaines Trading Post in the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. When WWII broke out he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to build warships for Todd Shipyards in Oakland from 1942 to 1967. In 1968 Alvin opened his first store at 231 Valencia St. in the Mission district of San Francisco located below the American Indian Center. That same year Greg Lewis found his Grandfather Alvin in the city and asked if he could learn the family art of silversmithing. Alvin became Greg's mentor and teacher.
In 1979 Greg moved his family to the Village of Paguate on the Laguna reservation, where he resides today. He continues to implement all the techniques that his grandfather taught him. In 1980, Dyaami, meaning "Eagle" in the Keresan language, was born into this family of metalsmiths. At the young age of eight, Dyaami picked up his first tools and began his apprenticeship under his father's guidance. Today he is a master silversmith.
Over the years, Greg and Dyaami have continued to trade and purchase only natural turquoise from the mines in Nevada and Arizona. All the turquoise is hand cut and set by Greg and Dyaami. Greg remarks,''My designs are a combination of my grandfather's patterns and my own creation. These include various animals such as bears, eagles, lizard, roadrunners, turtles, fish, etc." Some of the custom order pieces can be made in as little as 30 minutes. A concho belt, with is intricate designs and need for meticulous detail, can take up to a week to make.
Greg's father, Joe Lewis, who lives in Bruneau, Idaho is also an accomplished jeweler and graphic artist. Joe, Greg and Dyaami pride themselves in keeping the "old style art" alive after four generations. Now the fifth generation is starting with grandson, Lucien, who is eight years old and has picked up the tools to create his bracelets and rings. Dyaami's two sons, Lorenzo and Estevan, will also be taught the family time-honored skills and traditions of silver smithing. It is very important to Greg and Dyaami that the art is kept in the family and passed on to the future generations of the Lewis family.
Greg and Dyaami have their shop and business in the Village of Paguate. They continue to work daily along side each other creating art in the fashion that Alvin and his great uncles started. They are proud of their family tradition and the desire to keep this art of silver smithing alive in each other and in their children and their children of the future.