John Aguilar and Mary Francis Coriz
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John and Mary Francis are a very sweet couple who met 14 years ago and have been making jewelry together ever since. They’re both from the Santo Domingo tribe located in New Mexico. John does most of the silver-smithing and stone cutting, while Mary Francis completes the inlay mosaic work. The first time they met, John saw some of Mary Francis’ leftover scrapwork in her house, and knew right then and there that they’d be a great inspiration to each other and would make beautiful pieces of art together!
John first learned jewelry-making when he was about 9 years old from his mother, Terecita. His father passed away at that time, so he began assisting his mother in her artwork. He was also inspired by his Aunt and Uncle, Mary and Albert Coriz, who are well-known Heishi bead makers. He went on to work in plumbing, road construction, and operating heavy machinery while also doing his first love: jewelry-making.
John is a part of the Tribal Counsel and is a leader in his tribe. It’s important for him to be available to his people whenever they need him. He embodies respect for all forms of life, no matter how different, and is highly respected in return. He wears his hair long and keeps it tied back as a part of his village’s traditions. He has a strong conviction to keep his tribe’s traditions alive and to represent his culture to others. Mary Francis describes John as a man who’s “always happy and always smiling!”.
Mary Francis Coriz comes from a family of well-known artists. She grew up learning the artwork at a young age from both her mother, Mary Lovato, and her famous grandfather, Leo Coriz. She spent a lot of time with her grandfather and took his last name Coriz. Her brothers Anthony Lovato and Issac Coriz are also talented artists. Mary Francis says that her artistic designs are inspired by her sister, Mary Elizabeth, who has since passed away.
Mary Francis went on to college and had a full-time career as a Nurse. But when her two grandchildren came along, she quit her nursing job to help raise her grandkids while their parents work full-time. Both she and John enjoy spending as much time with their grandchildren as possible and encourage them with their schoolwork. Elias, who is 9 years old, and Marianna, who is 7 years old, even get to come with them now and then when they travel to jewelry shows!