Folk Arts Marketplace Artists
Grace Beltran is a teacher and artist who lives in the City of South Tucson with her husband, Ed. She creates a wide array of unique art pieces—including masks, totes, aprons, skirts, dresses, and quilts—for her locally owned and operated sewing business, Colores del Corazón.
Gerald Lomaventema is a jewler in the Hopi overlay technique, which was first developed by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie and his brother-in-law, Paul Saufkie, in the 1940s. This technique involves using two layers of sterling silver: a design is cut into the first layer, which is then soldered onto the second layer. Lomaventema began a formal apprenticeship at age 19 through the Hopi Guild Co-op on Second Mesa, and later learned to create jewelry in 3D and with color. Gerald is a 2016 recipient of the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master-Apprentice Award.
Charlotte Nsabaka, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, arrived in Tucson with her husband and four children in 2008. She is a skilled tailor with more than 20 years of experience in the sewing business, including owning her own business in the Congo. She was also a teacher for a United Nations Sewing Project for Women.
Mine Calik practices the traditional Turkish art of Ebru, or paper marbling, in which color pigments are brushed onto a pan of oil-treated water, then transferred to paper and used for decoration in bookbinding. She learned Ebru from a tradition bearer in Bursa after immigrating to the United States. Her husband, Mustafa, is apprenticing with her to learn the artform. Mine is a 2018 recipient of the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master-Apprentice Award.
Annetta Koruh is a Hopi basket weaver from the village of Bacavi on the Third Mesa. She represents the fourth generation of basket weavers in her family. From her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Annetta learned to harvest and process plants used in the practice, and to design baskets in ways that reveal aspects of the Hopi way of life and the role of women within the culture. In Hopi tradition, basketry is a spiritual and healing practice. Annetta is a is a 2018 recipient of the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master-Apprentice Award.
Porfirio Mora represents the pottery tradition of Mata Ortiz, a small village in Chihuahua, Mexico, known for its talented potters. Mata Ortiz pottery is inspired by ancient Paquimé culture, which shares many similarities with southwestern Pueblo cultures. Master potter Porfirio learned how to prepare the clay and the pigments, along with other basic techniques, from a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Joanne Hunter of Chinle, Arizona, is a Navajo artist who uses her family’s traditional Navajo rug designs in bead work. Her beaded necklaces pass on stories through patterns and hold significant spiritual stories. She has past down her knowledge to her daughter who now carries on this new family tradition. Joanne is a 2019 recipient of the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master-Apprentice Award.
Reuben Naranjo is a Tohono O’odham potter who first learned from his grandmother, Mary Lewis. He later studied with Alicia Bustamente of S-Gogosik, Sonora, Mexico, and Annie Manuel of Hickiwan, Arizona, to make utilitarian terracotta ollas and white clay friendship pots using colored clay slips and paints. Reuben is a 2016 recipient of the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master-Apprentice Award.
Louis David Valenzuela
Louis David Valenzuela is one of the last traditional Yoeme cottonwood mask makers in Southern Arizona. He learned the form from traditional Pascola mask makers from New and Old Pascua in Tucson. His masks represent significant cultural animals, such as monkey, goat, and rooster. He also creates masks for the sacred Deer Dance, which is performed annually during the Pascua Yaqui Lent ceremony. Valenzuela has taught and exhibited his work throughout Arizona. He is a 2018 recipient of the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master-Apprentice Award.
All photos by Steven Meckler