Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shopping at Two Graces Vol. 3

Here's the latest stuff from Two Graces, with a snake twist.

Using myself as a model may not be the best way to present these necklaces BUT...

Since I frequently wear my snake vertebrae necklace out & about and here at the shop, I'm asked quite frequently about it, maybe people are curious about what sort of person would actually wear such a thing. The story is that these were imported from Senegal (Africa) within the last 20-30 years. They were being sold at the Santa Fe Flea Market (the old Trader Jack's Flea) back then, people were told that they were Hopi Snake Dance Necklaces, and that they were very special, from a ceremony which years earlier had been closed to Whites/Belagana. So this was going to be as close as you were going to get to any Hopi Snake Dance. As I've researched this as much as anyone obsessed with this sort of thing could it turns out that there are many early photographs of Hopi Snake dance and that never in a million years would a Hopi priest wear such a thing, snakes are SACRED. You won't find these necklaces for sale anywhere, but here I have 3 of them. The truth is as I'd been asked over the years about them I found that a friend of mine now in his early 90's has a stash of them. It's taken over 3 years to convince him to sell me a few, and yesterday he brought a few in. In his words "they aren't cheap".

The 2 on each end which have smaller bones are $79.99 each, the one in the center is SOLD with larger bones (closer to the size I wear). I have restrung these myself with the help of Del Orr, and have added glass and tile beads to the back area, this keeps the very uncomfortable bones from laying directly on the back of your neck. They are all about 30" long, large enough to slip over the average person's head.

I include here these images of Rebecca Sievers' "Skeleton Sock Monkeys" these first 2 are "Scrappy" no tattoos on this guy, and "Punk Rock"

Last time Rebecca made a few of these for my Dia de los Muertos exhibit they sold out before the opening, for days on end people asked about them but they were all gone. These are once again all gone, approximately 9" long they are stuffed with organic stuffing, Fairfield brand Rayon Fiber made from Bamboo. Well, well, as predicted the sock monkey skeletons are selling before the Day of the Dead exhibit is even up and running, "Scrappy" the one without tattoos is still available, (he's the one to the far left).

These 2 are called "Bad Cat" and "Mom and Dad" Rebecca makes these from time to time for us, we are currently out of stock, but please call or email the store to check on availability.

Cut Metal Petroglyph Figure w/Snake 14" tall welded onto metal base w/copyright and DIY signature. SOLD This type of petroglyph are often pointed out as UFO figures. With a snake in his hand I am reminded of the Hopi Snake dance and of the guided tour hike I took with my Brother-in-Law & Sister 20 plus years ago into Canyon de Chelly with a Navajo guide. We asked him to show us Petroglyphs in particular ones of Kokopelli, well, we had the right guide that day he took us into cracks and crevices of the canyon hiking us as though we were a group of pack animals. When we came upon a live snake he became so excited explaining to us that this was the first time in over 25 years that he'd seen a snake in the canyon and that our presence must have something to do with this occurrence, making for an absolutely magical experience for all.

Hopi Kachina Haaniiya Katsinam Ogre with base 12"tall, mounted onto a base not original to the carving, but cleverly done to keep from glueing or nailing it onto the base, I've left it attached because it's an amazing way to display this doll. This was acquired at the Grand Canyon ca. 1950's/60's the head of the smnake is carved cottonwood body is some sort of papier mache or twisted paper onto a wire(?) I include him here because of the "snake dance" kilt he is wearing which is made of canvas. An amazing doll at an incredibly affordable price SOLD.

Hopi Horned Ogre Route 66 Kachina Doll ca. 1930's/40's height 5" (larger than usual) with original price in pencil written on bottom of ($2.). Route 66 dolls were made by the same carvers that create traditional dolls, the difference being that these dolls have a base and not legs and feet. They stand better than traditional dolls, and are made for the tourists of the 20's to present, the great Pooley Family still makes these through to this day. Easy to display in a curio cabinet. A traditional doll is given out to a Hopi Girl at a Kachina Dance Ceremony of which there are many during the yearly Hopi Calendar. This style of doll is meant for the tourist industry. SOLD

Butterfly Maiden Girl, signed (illegible) with original price tag of $250 on bottom Two Graces price SOLD height 9" with base. The carving and painting on this doll is very beautiful one of the best contemporary carvings I've seen, and with "Princess Leia" doughnut hair style! This is not a "true" Kachina doll but a social dancer doll. Social dances are meant to be a form of "high School" dance is the best way I can describe it, a way for boys and girls of the villages to get together and meet one another. Probably carved within the last 10 years, this was acquired from a Taos Pueblo woman. Taos Pueblo & Hopi-Land have extremely strong ties. When I visit the Hopi villages about every other year, when asked where I'm from I say Taos, and I'm always being asked to say hello to so and so back in Taos. Well, Taos is a small town, but I really don't know everyone!

I'd like to share something very nice with you which happened today. Of late I'm mostly worried about the fate of my little shop here in Ranchos, business has not been all that great and the landlord who has been very patient is now looking at reconsidering my lease, or not.
So, we are still hopeful to catch up with the rent and all the other bills and perhaps have that great customer (or many) come by and make it alright. Today a French woman came in with her husband, as she was leaving she stopped to say "This is one of the Loveliest shops we've seen since we arrived". After a while she came back and purchased the pair of vintage standing picture frames that are on the blog in Shopping Volume one. I could keep going on about how we have WONDERFUL customers, (and some not so much), but that would all be endless. One last thing...

Another rather nice thing that happened is this Hopi Koshare Bowl was given to me by one of the local "Pickers" I know. He told me as he was buying it the woman dropped it and it crashed to the floor, she took the time to glue it back together for him, but of course now it's a broken bowl. Still it has great beauty to me and very special. On September 30 Taos Pueblo will have San Geronimo Day complete with Koshare "Clowns". Warning if you go: STAY AWAY from the "CLOWNS"!!!


  1. Hola! Those snake spine necklaces are AWESOME! What kind of African voodoo, would they be maybe either a hex which would be used to dispell evil spirits or a perhaps a fetish object? Would like to know more about where in Africa these items are made, etc., to get to know the provenence, etc., of said snake spines! You have a really cool site and far out store. I love the Lady of Guadeloupe icon it is so powerful and the Kachinka dolls; especially the first one with the snake and coil headdress it is very appealing. Do you have old bottles of Guadeloupe Holy Water? Thank-you 2 Graces!

  2. Love the skeleton sock monkeys! Is your place across the way from Del's? Everything I can find online about your store and about Del is from late 2010. Is Del doing all right? (I spent an afternoon in his shop in the summer of 2010 and was totally enchanted -- his vast knowledge made a big impression on me. He even showed me a tattered old photo of himself with Kroeber (I'm an archaeologist), so I was really WOWED! Say hello from me, Nancy from Oakland, CA

    1. The Blog gives a current and more accurate picture of Two Graces. Join us on Facebook for even more up to the minute news at Two Graces Plaza Gallery. Usually newspaper stories will be the first thing to pop up online, but my blog posts do drive traffic to the shop.
      As for location, yes we are across from Del Orr's Trading Post where he continues to make roach headdresses for Native peoples PowWow attire. He has had a few setbacks with his health and at times his memory is quite scrambled with early onset of Alzheimers. It is indeed a treat to hear his stories and spend time with him, I'm glad you had that opportunity. Someone is picking his brain trying to get him to talk about his life story in order to write a book about him, hopefully that will happen.
      Thank You I'm glad you found us.