Victor P. Beck, Sr.
Victor is a person who takes great pride in sharing his Dine culture. As a Dine' (Navajo), he identifies himself as a member of the Manygoat clan, and born for the Salt (Ashii) clan. He credits his parents, Clifford and Esther Beck, guidance to use his cultural beliefs to find his path in life. He believes the longevity of his 30 year career may be due to his clean, simple, lines found in his bolos and buckles. Often, people describe his work as contemporary, elegant classic pieces such as his limited edition gold coral necklace, bracelets, and his side inlay rings.
Amazingly, Victor happened upon his jewelry making while taking a required course to fulfill his ceramics study in 1975. Fortunately, Victor always seemed to have good opportunities lead onto ways. Next, came an internship with the Museum of Northern Arizona, who in conjunction with Northern Arizona University, offered him an internship in silver and metal smith. After his intern, he was offered a scholarship to attend the State University of New York In New Paltz. There he learned the techniques he now uses in his jewelry making.
Besides being fortunate, Victor also leads a prayerful life. He contributes this to his next assignment to “design and execute a gift for the Holy Father, his Eminence, Pope Paul VI.” He says “the idea to design the Rosary came to him several weeks before the deadline.” Today, his Navajo version of the Rosary is presently at the Vatican in Rome, Italy
Victor enjoys creating his jewelry and having them recognized as a “Beck Bolo, a Beck Buckle, or a Beck necklace." He thinks other artists should draw upon their own talent to create individual designs solely distinctive to them.
Victor has won many prestigious awards and he has been written up in numerous publications. He has been honored with the Ted Charveze Memorial Award, Best of Division and Best of Classification in Jewelry from the Heard Museum. Recently, he was published in the May 2003 Arizona Highways and was selected as an Arizona Living Treasure in October 2003 for his contribution in preserving his culture through his artwork.
(Taneeszahnii/Tsédeeshgizhnii/Tohdích’i’nii/Kinyaa’áanii) was born in Keams Canyon, AZ but raised in nearby Piñon on the Navajo reservation. Her mother is a well-known weaver, excelling in “Chief Blankets” and “Two Grey Hills” designs. She grew up in a tight knit community, graduating from Chinlé High School in 1978. Shortly after graduating she met and married her husband, Victor Beck. She passed away in August 2016, survived by her husband, daughters Kehazbaa and Nanibaa, son Victor Jr., nephew Nathan, and a beautiful extended family.
Eleanor Beck then attended Northern Arizona University (NAU) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. But it was in the 1980s when she began assisting her husband whose career and work started to excel at that time. After many years of practice and learning the mechanics and techniques of modern jewelry, she worked professionally as an artisan for five years. She continued to develop her own style and craft until her passing in 2016. She sought to combine influences from her experience and influences surrounding her in her own unique and elegant approach. Today, her daughter and jeweler Nanibaa continues to capture these elements in her own collection titled, Shima' (My Mother).
Overall, Eleanor's earrings captured the clean simplicity of contemporary designs. She used sterling silver with wavy patterns or a tear drop frame that incorporates wire on the outside of the stone; including coral, jade, or lapis lazuli. In her necklaces, she used handmade sterling silver beads, inlaid coral, or turquoise stones with her own stamp work. She also created bracelets and custom made her jewelry to accommodate special requests. Her sterling silver necklace received an honorable mention at the Museum of Northern Arizona Navajo Show in August of 2013.