"I'm very proud of my Navajo culture," Robert Taylor says. "What's important is to keep up good work, do it right, and teach it to the young people."
Taylor has been perfecting his craft of gold and silversmithing for over thirty years. What was once a hobby he began while still in school has grown into the creation of stellar works of art. As the son of a silversmith who was also a medicine man and a mother who was a rug weaver, Robert Taylor grew up not only herding sheep but also learning the traditional Navajo stories, songs and prayers. His father recorded them onto tapes that his son, the budding artist, could listen to as he drove long stretches of road from their remote desert home to market his work.
Today, those stories are captured in Taylor’s storyteller cuffs; images of the Navajo storyteller, flute players, Yei figures, bears, lizards, sand painting symbols and more images are delicately sketched onto the silver or gold he works with. The gold he uses is purchased as pure 24k gold, which he may work with as is; if Taylor desires 14k, 18k or 22k, he alloys the gold himself to retain control over its subtle colorations. Taylor rolls out his silver or gold then sketches his original designs freehand onto the metal before cutting out the patterns with a coping saw whose blade is no bigger than a thread. These delicate, detailed designs are soldered onto the top and bottom plate he has cut out so that the imagery is framed with bands as though in a picture frame. The completed piece goes in a cleaner, is then polished and cleaned even more to get in all areas of the intricate designs, and buffed yet again before it is ready to be presented as another finished masterwork.
Robert Taylor could spend an entire day to produce just one of his extraordinary pieces of jewelry.