This is an unusual —probably unique— necklace, the only necklace I have ever seen incorporating miniature pottery.  The potter, Daisy Hooee Nampeyo, was the granddaughter of Nampeyo and an exceptionally-talented artist. The provenance of the necklace is known in detail.  All such serious considerations aside, the necklace is simply fun.






Design Analysis:

The eleven pots are organized into five pairs plus the somewhat larger pot in the lower central position.  Any order of pots was possible, but consider the visual impact of the necklace had the pots been presented in a random order. In that case all areas of the necklace would have the same visual appeal, like a Zuni fetish necklace.  Instead, Daisy arranged the top 10 pots so that the pairs of pots of similar form were placed opposite each other, creating a regularity of pattern. The lowest pair flank a somewhat larger pot of the same form, thus creating focus. Pattern plus focus increases the visual attractiveness of the necklace.

About Daisy Hooee Nampeyo and this necklace:

I believe Hooee Nampeyo (1906 to 1994) to be among the greatest of potters born at Hopi: see pot 2019-16.  Daisy had an extraordinary and cosmopolitan life.  She grew up at Hopi, as a teenager moved to Los Angeles with a very wealthy Anglo family who arranged treatment to cure a disease of her eyes, was enrolled by them in L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Paris), saw Lindbergh land in 1927,  returned to Hopi where she helped Grandmother Nampeyo make pottery, was married, had children, was divorced and moved to Zuni where she lived the rest of her life.  There she was married a second time, became a widow, and married a third time.  While at Zuni she continued to make both Hopi and Zuni pottery, sometimes encorporating both styles in a single pot (2011-13).  For more detail about her life, see the catalog entry for pot 2011-13.

I sent a photograph of this necklace to Ed Wade and he responded by email on 9-27-22:

I have never seen anything like it. Must have had a great story associated with it.

That story is known and gives insight into both the history of the necklace and the life of its maker.  To preserve this history, the story will be presented here in detail.

The Kennedy family of “Indian Traders”:

Much of this information is from John D. Kennedy, who sold the necklace to me.  We exchanged emails on September 15, 16 and 26, 2022 and spoke by phone on October 8, 2022.  For clarity I have rearranged some of the information he provided.  Information was also gathered from published sources, as indicated.

John D. is a member of  the youngest of three generations of “Indian Traders” in his family.

The oldest generation: His grandfather George E. Kennedy “was one of the early Indian traders on the [Navajo] reservation, opening a trading post in Salina Springs within the Tselani Chapter in 1912…(The Gallup Independent (NM) 11-1-14).

The middle generation: “[George’s three sons] were raised as trading post kids, learning Navajo and being either home-schooled or taught by a live-in teacher. [One son, John W. Kennedy] was born in 1912…and married Georgiana Monaco in 1940.  [They] raised eight children…and were married 74 years….[John W.] opened his own Indian arts and crafts store, Gallup Indian Trading Company [and] by the 1960 [he] had become the biggest wholesaler of Indian crafts in America (The Gallup Independent (NM) 11-1-14).” “The 50s through the 80s was the apex of Navajo reservation trading.  The demise began in the late 80s…[The Kennedy] family participated in the evolution of the business from horseback and wagons to airplanes and computers.  (John D. Kennedy says of his father): My dad (John W.) was a wealth of information on trading and we bantered about it for years.  He was one of the smartest people I have known.  He retired from trading at the age of 98 and then passed away in his 102nd year in 2015.  I and my family had a great run with him (”

The youngest generation: The seller of the Daisy necklace, John D. Kennedy, grew up in his family’s Indian trading business and returned to it shortly after graduating from college. “In 1982 I split from our family business and started my own company.  I went from working with nearly one hundred employees to one… I focused my business on large companies in the western national parks as well [as] Disney world-wide.  For most of my accounts I was their exclusive supplier of American Indian arts and crafts. My experience provided opportunity to handle special quality arts and crafts.  Arguably, I dealt with more North American tribes and Eskimos that anyone in the business (”

Daisy Hooee Nampeyo and the Kennedy family:

“She lived her adult life in Zuni, where I (John D Kennedy) met her as a child. She was married to a Zuni, Leo Poblano, who taught her to make Zuni inlay jewelry. They made jewelry together. Leo worked with my dad at his Zuni trading post in the early 40s. Daisy worked with my mom to help with us kids at home. Leo was killed while fighting a forest fire in California in 1945 and Daisy became a widow. When Dad sold his interest in CG Wallace Trading in 1946, we moved to Gallup. Daisy came to Gallup with us and lived with us for two years. Dad was bedridden for a year from back surgery….Daisy was a vivacious and happy woman who was always singing Hopi and Zuni songs… Daisy was a very pretty woman.  She was very kind and gentle and a great person to have living in our home.

Georgiana and Daisy

She remained a close family friend until her death in the late 90s.”

The Necklace:

(John D. Kennedy speaking):

“The idea for the necklace was Daisy’s.  She made the pots, but we (John W. and Georgiana Kennedy) gave her the beads. The beads are handmade, sterling silver, made in the 50s.  Few necklaces have beads made by the necklace maker, especially Zuni.  The majority of beads are made by Navajos NW of Gallup in the Mariano / Pinedale area.  We always bought necklaces and beads separately and then had them strung.  Until the 60s, beads were shaped on a tree stump.  Silver was cut into squares, a hole punched, the bead was shaped and then the halves were soldered together.  Once done, the beads are strung on wire for buffing and polishing.  In the 60s metal block dyes became available and eliminated the tree stumps. These (the beads in this necklace) were made the old way.

The necklace is very old and I don’t remember how or when the (upper right-hand ladle handle) broke.  As I recall Daisy made the pots and assembled the necklace in the 60s and it hung on my parent’s (John W. and Georgiana Kennedy’s) wall for 30 years and my wall for about as long. I don’t believe the necklace was ever worn”

Purchase History:
Purchased with an online pre-auction bid from John D. Kennedy, of Albuquerque, NM on 9-25-22. I was the only bidder. John knows Andy Goldschmidt (Corrales, NM) and on 9-28-22 was kind enough take the necklace directly to him to repair the top right scoop.