SPOTLIGHT : SHIPROCK SANTA FE
I love New Mexico! Sorry Colorado, but I can’t help it. I found myself living in Santa Fe when I was younger and have been addicted to New Mexico's open air, rich culture and Red Chillies ever since. This past weekend, I headed back West to the "Land of the Enchanted" to visit Shiprock Art and Textile Gallery and chat with Gallery Director Jamie Way.
Owner and Founder Jed Foutz, a fifth-generation art dealer raised on the Shiprock Navajo Reservation, has created the perfect space to showcase everything from historic and contemporary textiles to jewelry, pottery, folk and fine art by leading Native American artists and even Japanese clothing brands, Visvim and WMV (The visvim womenswear label), which feel perfectly at home among the art and history housed throughout this amazing space.
I sat down with Jamie to learn more about this one-of-a-kind retail/gallery experience, their connection to Visvim's founder Hiroki Nakamura, and everything Santa Fe.
A big thank you to Scott, Jed and Jamie for their gracious hospitality and for taking the time to give us an amazing tour of Shiprock. Adding this to my list of reasons as to why I love NM! It's a must see if you're ever in Santa Fe.
Can you describe Shiprock and give me a bit of history behind the store?
Shiprock Santa Fe is the modern incarnation of a five generation legacy Trading Post on the Navajo reservation.
The rug room is absolutely amazing! I am obsessed with the pre-1900s Navajo rugs. Do you have a favorite tribe/culture or time era that you are drawn to?
Personally, I feel the best artwork and purchasing value are works from the Transitional Era, c. 1890. This was the initial experimentation by weavers with synthetic dyes, new patterns and wool types that resulted in the most eccentric, colorful and artistic weavings in the history of Navajo weaving. Additionally, most pieces in this time period price in the $3500-$15,000 range, so they are very affordable.
I am sure there are some rich histories behind the rugs you sell, do you have any stories you'd like to share?
We have had some funny stories over the years, driving in the dark to find a collector’s home, etc. My favorite stories are always when a family comes in with a weaving and has no idea what it’s worth. They are pleasantly surprised to find they have a real treasure on their hands, a real Antiques Roadshow moment!
How did the partnership between SR and Visvim’s founder Hiroki Nakanura come about?
Jed and Hiroki were introduced when Hiroki first decided to come to the southwest to study moccasin traditions of Native Americans. Jed was his guide and an immediate friendship formed. The two men are very alike, and have a very similar approach to design, art, business and life.
Additional collaborations on Navajo weaving and teepee making solidified the relationship, which led to us picking up the clothing line Visvim in 2012. We have since added pieces from WMV, the women’s division. Hiroki and his wife Kelsi have become dear family friends of the Foutz’s, they have enjoyed traveling to see one another’s countries and homes.
You're originally from Denver. When did you move to Santa Fe and what do you miss most about Denver?
I grew up in Pennsylvania, but frequent vacations to the Rockies as a child led me to select the University of Colorado Boulder for college. I fell in love and never left, moving to Denver soon after graduation. I worked for a Denver art dealer, David Cook, and learned the antique American Indian art business from him. Our frequent business trips to Santa Fe left me broken-hearted when I had to leave, something about the region moved me and I always wanted to find a way to live here. I finally had the opportunity in 2006, when Jed decided to open his Santa Fe gallery and moved me here to run it.
Denver was home for a long time, but I have been in Santa Fe for a long time since. My best friend in the world lives there, and I miss the area where I lived in Washington Park and running around my park every morning. I also am a huge fan of skiing Vail, and the quick access I had to so much ski terrain is something I miss. Denver was the best place for me to be in my 20’s with so many fun activities, sports teams, and a young vibrant community of people. Santa Fe has been the best place to settle and begin a serious career in the arts working for the best gallery and the wonderful Foutz’s, who are family to me- and start my own family as well!
What is your favorite thing about living in Santa Fe?
The vistas, views, mountains, quietude, and most importantly, the people it brings here. We are introduced to writers, former CEO’s, great financial minds, healers, artists, and more. the most fascinating people tour to our town from all over the world, we are in such a special place and people know it and seek us out.
Follow Shiprock on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shiprocksantafe/
Visit their website: http://www.shiprocksantafe.com/