Brad Panteah, Zuni-Dine (Navajo)
My father is Zuni, of the Bear Clan and my mother is Diné, of the Water Clan. I am fifth generation of silversmiths on both sides of my family. As a child I was surrounded by the art of silversmithing. I spent many hours in the workshops of my Parent, Uncles, Aunts and many other family members watching them and eventually helping them with their craft. We children were often responsible for cleaning the jewelry and getting it ready for sale.
Maybe because I was surrounded by jewelry all my life I wanted to follow another path. I attended dog training school and became the youngest master trainer ever licensed. After several years of training dogs I wanted to go another direction and my mother’s words came back to me. “No matter what happens you can always come back to jewelry. Jewelry will always be around.”
I returned home and my mother and brother re-taught me the basics. Cutting, stamping, soldering, and hammering. The process was slow but I had a talent for the work. By the time I had relearned the skills I was beginning to come up with my own designs. The inspirations for my designs come from many different sources which I then merge into unique pieces. My skills at both design and fabrication have grown with each year since I have become a silversmith. My work can now be seen in galleries in Aspen, Taos, Santa Fe, Tucson, Sedona, Houston and Los Angeles. I am in several prestigious Museum shows including The Southwest Museum of the American Indian, The Autry, Arizona State Museum, Pueblo Grande and the Eiteljorg Museum.