Fine art

Nature in metal and stone

Jemez Pueblo jeweler Glenda Loretto in Meet the Artist event at Fechin

By Virginia L. Clark​
Posted 6/23/18

Native American jeweler Glenda Loretto of Jemez Pueblo is the featured artist Saturday (June 23), for this month's Meet the Artist event at the Nicolai Fechin Studio. From …

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Fine art

Nature in metal and stone

Jemez Pueblo jeweler Glenda Loretto in Meet the Artist event at Fechin


​Native American jeweler Glenda Loretto of Jemez Pueblo is the featured artist Saturday (June 23), for this month's Meet the Artist event at the Nicolai Fechin Studio, Taos Art Museum. From 1-4 p.m., Loretto will demonstrate some of her beading techniques, riff on what inspires her and generally spend an afternoon relaxing with museum visitors.

"I'm really honored to be part of (the Fechin) gallery," Loretto said. "And I'm honored for them to ask me to do the Meet the Artist. It gives me an opportunity to spend time and meet new people."

Loretto works with silver, turquoise, semi-precious stones and beads, creating pieces using casts made from things in nature as well as many other styles of contemporary Native American jewelry. She typically has a delicate aesthetic: A brooch evokes a finely splayed cedar branch with a momentarily still butterfly about to take its next heady flight through a garden or forest of Loretto's hallowed imagination.

"I love textures. I like to use natural elements," she said, and adds in her artist statement: "My work comes from and focuses on nature, which offers many textures that I cast from the shapes and surfaces of twigs, cedar branches, tufa (volcanic ash) and cuttlebone that are transformed when cast into silver and gold. Patience, exploring and improving my artistic abilities, and creating beautiful works are all processes that come from my soul. I may visualize a piece that I want to create and achieve, but only the inner soul will allow the piece to create itself, and that is with an open mind, open heart and most of all by challenging myself."

Since earning her Bachelor of Studio Arts degree at the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2011, Loretto has exhibited work at the Santa Fe Indian Market; the Heard Museum Indian Market in Phoenix, Arizona; the Shiprock Gallery; Wheelwright Museum and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe; and at the Denver Art Museum. In 2009, Nancy N. Schiffer published Loretto's work in her book, "Masters of Contemporary Indian Jewelry."

Actually, she has been exhibiting at Santa Fe Indian Market for over 20 years, first with her artist-sister Estella Loretto and later in her own jewelry booth.

Probably due to family influence, her mother was a potter, she worked in pottery from 1990 to 1999 and then changed to jewelry between 2000 and 200, when she took a refresher class at Poeh Cultural Center at Pojoaque Pueblo. Loretto lives in Santa Fe and treks up to the Pojoque studio often.

"I'm still taking classes at Poeh," she says. "They have a huge great studio and I do a lot of lost-wax casting - I like to do my own casting - so I take advantage of that," referring to a casting session scheduled around for this interview.

Her lost-wax casting (cire perdue in French) creates a duplicate metal sculpture (typically she uses silver and some gold) from an original sculpture, which allows her to create highly intricate metal works. She also creates jewelry from semiprecious stones and beads, using elements, such as coral and turquoise beads, and Montana agate, among many others.

She will be included in the two-day Poeh Summer Arts Market, June 30 and July 1, at the Poeh Cultural Center in Pojoaque.

Leslie Lancaster, Fechin House and Museum store manager, first curated Loretto for the museum after seeing her work in a Poeh Cultural Center exhibit. "I especially liked her cast pine cones," Lancaster said. "I was so impressed with her work I asked her to be a part of the museum store."

Lancaster said she's very casual and relaxed with local artists and their jewelry. "I don't pressure her, just whenever she has pieces to share, works for me."

Meet the Artist visitors can bring their own beads and strings, and Loretto will be happy to demo how to get started or even how to repair a break or create a hook or fastener closure. She's very much looking forward to the creative afternoon.

Now she spends so much time alone in her studio, standing and soldering, it's like a meditation break to string beads for a day, she said. And it gets lonely when she's not casting in the Pojoaque studio and interacting with other students and artists.

"So I talk a lot to my chihuahua, Honey," she joked. "I like to get out of my studio and be with the other students. And if they have questions, I can help help them."

Lancaster invites visitors "to come enjoy a lovely, free afternoon of art in the Fechin Studio," to see Loretto's work, ask questions and walk about the newly renovated garden. Light refreshments, coffee and apple cider will be offered.

For more information, see;; or call (575) 758-2690.


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