Edith Tsabetsaye

Edith Tsabethsaye was born around 1940 in Zuni Pueble, New Mexico. Edith learned silversmithing from her parents at the age of 12. Eighteen years after she had learned soldering and lapidary work she decided she needed to do something different. Everyone was using bigger stones as cluster-work or petitpoint so she decided to do needlepoint. Edith wanted to make her work stand out so she changed her grinding technique to a high dome where the stone is rounded on the top and you could spot her jewelry from a distance. She bought her tools but had to reinvent them to make the tiniest needlepoint possible. Turquoise is very important to the Zuni people. It is part of their life, they work and pray with it. The tiny bits of turquoise left over from their work, is put in cornmeal to pray with. Her jewelry is all traditional and she uses only the top-grade turquoise. She mainly works with Lone Mountain and Sleeping Beauty turquoise because of the hardness. She feels the lighter color turquoise gets prettier as you wear it. Some of her masterpieces feature over 400 needlepoint turquoise per set. Edith as won over 50 Blue Ribbons for “Best of Needlepoint” at Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial and Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, more than any artist in her category in the history of each event.

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