Valerie Calabaza is a jeweler embedded within her family’s longstanding artistic tradition and legacy. Her late grandparents, Joseph F. and Mary Ann Calabaza, learned to create each piece from their great-grandfather, Patricio Calabaza. He taught them how to take a simple piece of turquoise, mold it, and create a beautiful necklace. As her family began to grow, their five children, Joseph R., Joseph A., Aldon, DeAlva, and Irvin Calabaza, participated within the process for Joe and Mary’s creations. Her family makes their necklaces with heavier texture from turquoise, lapis, coral, spiny oyster, and other various stones. As years passed, Joseph F. and Mary Ann taught Valerie Calabaza the traditional inlay on spiny oyster shells. Today, Valerie continues to be inspired by the thunderbird necklaces made during the Great Depression at Santo Domingo Pueblo. “This type of artwork has been passed down for many generations, and we continue to pass it down to our children and grandchildren. It is important to us that we keep our artwork alive because not only does it bring us joy, but it is a representation of our traditional values.” Conversations with Goodman Fellows will continue on a monthly basis throughout the year, generally the fourth Wednesday of every month, at 10:00 am. Please watch MIAC’s newsletter and social media for future dates. The series will also be available on the Museum’s YouTube Channel.