Michelle Sanding
Chris painting

My name is Michelle Peina, I am from the Zuni Pueblo Tribe in New Mexico. I have been working at silversmithing off and on since I was 14 years old. I grew up watching and helping my mother (Pauline Dishta Zunie) make jewelry for a living, as most kids learn in Zuni. I started out doing the smallest tasks like taking the setting wire off the finished soldiered piece then gradually as I grew older got more responsibilities like taking the old jewelry wax off the the sticks and putting new wax on, this job was only for the "big kids" sense it involved a lite candle or lamp. I learned how to do Needlepoint, Pettit Point, Channel, and my favorite multi-color inlay. I have learned to do pottery and paint.

My latest creations are wood crafts. I started working with white pine about 16 years ago helping my husband make bookshelves for his never-ending collection, my job was to sand and paint them because I was afraid of the cutting tools. I eventually got over my fear and made a small night stand and a small chair for my son.

A couple of years ago at a museum show my step-dad needed something to hold his business cards on the table so with the cottonwood scraps he had left from making a kachina doll I cobbled together a holder. I got to thinking that don't seem hard, I can do that with the wood I have at the house. So when I got home I put together ten holders with different cut outs to the back and my brother Chris and I painted them. We sold them to friends at his work and at the trading stores in Gallup.

We started buying ready made pine boxes at the crafts stores and painting them, but sometimes the store boxes would be damaged so I started making my own boxes. I now make boxes of most any size, Key chain holders, tissue box holders, matchbox holders, nameplates, mirrors and I have even made a gun rack holder.

This past year I put both of the works together and made a box out of cedar and exotic wood parquet I inlayed a Zuni design in stone and silver. It won First Place and Best In Category at Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial.

I am also a photographer in my somewhat spare time. I have won many First, Second, Third Place ribbons plus a Best In Category and Best In Class at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial. I have had my photos published in the Navajo Times, Gallup Independence, and The Indian Trader Magazine.

 

My brother Chris Nastacio does most of our painting. He has been drawing and painting since elementary school and has won many awards for his work. Not only is he a great painter but he also does pottery and fetishes. Some of his work can be found in several fetish books. He told me that he tried his hand at silver smithing once and did great but spent all the money without getting more replacement supplies, he decided then to stick to pottery and fetishes since they come from the earth.

 

 

We hope you can enjoy our handcrafted items as much and we enjoy making them. We take custom made orders. We take Cashier's Checks, Money Orders and PayPal. Postage will be charged according to weight and destination.

 

Michelle Peina

P.O. Box 1762

Gallup, NM 87305

zunicrafts@yahoo.com