Sister trio brings Native American jewelry to Kennedy

Inside a small room within the Kennedy Museum of Art, three sisters busily arrange everything from simple turquoise and silver rings to dragonfly-woman pins in preparation for the Native American Jewelry Show and Sale to take place Friday and Saturday.

“We identify each piece of jewelry by artist, heritage and materials,” said Meg Toomey, organizer of the sale. “Our jewelry is primarily from Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and Kewa artists, and includes a wide range of traditional and contemporary designs that are both affordable and collectable.”

The sale is one of the two that take place annually at the Kennedy Museum and typically raises a fair amount of money, Toomey said. A portion from the proceeds goes to the Friends of the Kennedy Museum of Art and their projects, which include transportation to the museum, educational programs and scholarships.

Throughout the year, the jewelry is available for purchase through Good Girl Jewelry at White’s Mill, a store located on State Route 682 on the Hocking River that Toomey owns with her husband.

The store forms lasting business relationships with creators of the jewelry. All the jewelry is homemade by American-Indians and comes from a variety of sources, primarily the Southwest, Toomey said.

“We love meeting the artists and the vendors, some of which we’ve known for as much as 15 years,” Toomey’s sister and volunteer Liz Gillam said.

The store and the places from which the jewelry is purchased belong to the Native American Arts and Crafts Association, an alliance created, according to its website, to protect against the “growing problem of misrepresentation of American-Indian arts and crafts in the marketplace.”

“We support the artists and make sure they’re getting their fair share,” sister and volunteer Missy Cline said. “Anything sold is certifiable Native American.”

The sales have taken place since 2001, with one always in December and the other during Moms Weekend. The amount of people coming to visit the gallery exhibits — including a large exhibit of Southwest Native American Rugs — and The Ridges contributes to the success of the sale, Toomey said.

“It’s a beautiful place,” she said. “It’s historic. People are up here anyway and the gallery has a lot going on as well... It’s just fun.”

IYGB:

What: Native American Jewelry Show and Sale

When: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Kennedy Museum of Art

Admission: Free, sale prices vary

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