• How Railroad Tourism Created the Craze for Traditional Native American Baskets During the 1890s, U.S. railroads brought the first waves of tourists West, spawning a market for souvenirs of the new frontier such as Native American baskets. For the next several decades, the artistry of Native American basketry was at its peak, while the popularity of the art form was unprecedented, derailed only by the Great Depression. Now, a new book by John Kania and Alan Blaugrund titled “…
  • Katsina or Kachina? Barry Walsh on the Spiritual Roots of Native American Dolls Katsinas are representations of spirit beings, so they should convey a certain amount of spirituality. The old ones generally do that, and some contemporary ones do as well. I look for some sort of artistic oomph and some sort of spiritual presence. And I’m a sucker for detail. I like it when a carver adds accoutrements such as a rattle, rasp, bow and arrow, or quiver, or if he takes time on the e…
  • Native American Jewelry Lowdown: The Story Behind Turquoise and Squash Blossoms Thanks to my father, I basically grew up involved with Indian arts and culture. He was a graduate of the University of New Mexico and wrote the first popular book on Southwest Indian arts and crafts. In the summer of 1949, he opened a little shop called Ghost Ranch Trading Post at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. That winter, he moved the shop to Tucson, Arizona. I started doing some of the buy…