Hamana So'ohs Gallery, Third Mesa

Folk Art and Gifts from the Grand Canyon State

By: Edie Jarolim

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Shops featuring regional and folk art and crafts by Arizona's artisans let you take a piece of the state home with you.

About the author

Edie Jarolim

Edie Jarolim

Edie Jarolim is the author of three travel guides, including "Arizona for Dummies," and one dog guide, "Am I Boring My Dog?" Her book, "Getting Naked for Money: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All," is a memoir about her career as a guidebook editor for Frommer’s, Rough Guides, and Fodor’s and as a Tucson-based freelance travel writer. Her articles about Arizona have appeared in numerous national publications, including "National Geographic Traveler," "Sunset," and "The Wall Street Journal."

Arizona's natural beauty and diverse cultural traditions make the state a magnet for the creatively inclined.

You'll find top-quality arts and crafts by local artists and artisans throughout the state, but the following stops offer a concentration of Arizona-made finds in sightseeing-friendly settings outside of the larger cities.

Authentic American Indian crafts

One of the Navajo Nation's top attractions, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and nearby Chinle are hubs for authentic Navajo arts and crafts.

The Thunderbird Lodge Trading Post, on the site of an early 1900s Navajo trading post, specializes in contemporary silver jewelry, including inlays of coral and turquoise.

It's worth a side trip to the Hubbell Trading Post, the oldest continuously operating trading post in the Southwest U.S. Established in 1876, the post today features antique and modern crafts as well as rug-weaving demonstrations.

Artisans sell their wares out of their homes on all three Hopi mesas, but most of the formal galleries are on Second Mesa.

The Hopi Cultural Center offers an excellent selection of katsinas, carved representations of Hopi ancestor spirits.

At Rising Sun Gallery see the work of skilled silversmith Weaver Salina, known for his contemporary takes on traditional overlay jewelry, and his wife, Alberta Salina, who wins competitions for baskets woven from native grasses and branches.

Although Tsakurshovi Gallery carries a great variety of Hopi crafts, including textiles and pottery, the shop is probably best known for T-shirts and other items bearing the "Don't Worry, Be Hopi" logo, designed here.

Also of interest: Discover more American Indian shopping hubs in Arizona.

Nature as muse

 

After the last mining company abandoned Jerome in the 1950s, artists and crafters began staking their claims on the hillside town.

Imaginative housewares are Pura Vida Gallery's hallmark. Find wood-turned lamps with copper shades or clocks made of slumped glass. The gallery represents more than 120 artists whose work highlights the organic form.

The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery proudly supports local artists. Work is juried, so the quality is high, but the offerings are wonderfully eclectic. Expect to find everything from gourd art to handmade woven jackets.

Among its many offerings, the store at the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block highlights mixed-media depictions of local landmarks: a masonite-mounted photograph of the historic No-Tel Motel sign, say, or tile-work desert scenes framed in metal.

Art infused with history and culture

The front of Lee Blackwell Studio in Tubac, ArizonaLee Blackwell Studio in Tubac

Arizona's Mexican heritage is highlighted at Adelante Gallery in Carefree's historic Spanish Village. The shop features Day of the Dead-themed pieces by local and international artists, as well as folk-inspired paintings, metalwork and even furniture.

The state's first European settlement (1752), Tubac is now known for its abundance of creative residents: A fact celebrated each winter in the town's popular Tubac Festival of the Arts. But you don't have to come during the festival weekend to enjoy the arts of Tubac.

Many Arizona artists with international reputations are represented by K. Newby Gallery + Sculpture Garden. Look for Pokey Park's humorous animal sculptures, Nick Wilson's wildlife paintings, and Kim Yubeta's colorful multi-strand necklaces.

Diane Lisle calls her Clay Hands Gallery & Studio "the ice cream shop of pottery" because so many different ceramic artists can be found here. Her own pottery ranges from raku to stoneware.

Since 1982, visitors to Tubac have admired artist Lee Blackwell's copper agaves and other organic-form metal sculpture and fountains at his Lee Blackwell Studio.

This article last updated in fall 2018.

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