San Felipe
Bead Maker

Original Watercolor Painting taken from a photo at San Felipe Pueblo, New Mexico, circa 1880

The painting is of a San Felipe native making a bead using a pump drill to bore holes. The pump drill is different from the simpler bow drill in which the twirling action was constant, in that when the cross bar was pressed down it caused the buckskin thongs to twist the drill, and upon release caused it to rotate in the other direction.

San Felipe is one of the most culturally conservative of all the Keresan speaking people, stubbornly retaining their traditional religion and customs despite relentless pressures from the outside world. Community values and responsibilities are always subordinate to individual interests so that the strong ceremonial structure and the traditional rituals have kept the San Felipe people a vital and distinctive entity, with a proud heritage of ancient origin. Although the pueblo is not more than thirty miles from Albuquerque, the fact that outsiders are not encouraged to visit has made it possible for the San Felipe people to resist the influences of modern life and to maintain their individuality. Farming has been the principal occupation of the men of San Felipe, as well as employment in various trades in Albuquerque. Because of the revival of interest in native crafts, the intricate bead work which the women of the pueblo create is now again available in the shops. Heishe of exceptional quality is again being produced by a few artisans at San Felipe, in the ancient traditional of fine workmanship for which they are noted.

This is a one of a kind "original" pen and ink/watercolor drawing by Western Artist Ken West. It has low price especially for an original work of a known artist. The picture is mounted on a double bevel, acid free Crescent mat and comes with a professional hardwood frame. Picture also comes with glass and backing ready to hang. Shipping and Insurance extra at $20. The matted picture is an 11x14 and with frame it is 14x17, which is a perfect size for the wall or den. This is an excellent opportunity for collectors to get in on the very beginning of an offering and collect a series of beautiful work and actually own an "original" of a well known artist.

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