This jeweler makes traditional hand wrought pieces in the style of the 1890s-1940s. His techniques and materials are varied and include ingot silver, fabrication, tufacast, repoussé, twist and drawn wire, filework, appliqué and set stones.
Born in 1964 in Ganado, Arizona, Perry began jewelry-making in the mid-1980s. He was inspired by silversmiths who came to sell their wares at the Gallup jewelry supply store where he worked. He was further encouraged by his father-in-law- BIll Malone, a trader at Hubbell Trading Post, and then he apprenticed for three years to his silversmith brother-in-law Ernie Lester.
But Perry never wanted to do modern silver work. He wanted to make pieces the way the old timers did: plain, using heavy silver, little turquoise, and very little stamp work. “I used my imagination, “he says, “to set myself in their position.” He purposely started out with hardly any tools, using just a few hammers and chisels to stamp designs on silver. He bought his first tools with a 1995 fellowship from the Southwest Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), sponsor of the Santa Fe Indian Market.
Design ideas came from studying old pieces of Navajo jewelry. Perry would go to fairs and talk to older people about their jewelry. He would visit museums and private collections to pore over their pieces. Sometimes he’d even stop people on the street and ask to look at the old jewelry they were wearing.