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Philander Begay is from Tuba City, Arizona, born to the Red Running into Water Clan and born for the Tobacco People Clan. Married with five kids, he has lots to do as he helps his wife Shana’baa take care of them. Philander makes one shot tufa stone cast pieces in silver and gold. He says he’ll just be walking along then, “Pow!”, and idea comes to him and he can see it in his mind. At times, he’ll have a piece of tufa stone in his hand and he just “knows” how to carve it. He cites Charles Loloma, Preston Monongye, and Jesse Monongya as his influences.
Philander’s father was raised Hopi near Hardrock, and the family has many ties to the tribe even though Philander is Navajo. He used to play with his Hopi friend, De-ve, when they were young, and attend Bean Dances, getting chased by Kachinas.
Philader’s cousin, Darryl, taught him how to silversmith and tufa cast. He loves to make big, different, stand-out pieces. He does it, not only to support his family, but because he admits its just plain fun.
Philander has showcased his work at the renowned Santa Fe Indian Market, winning the 2007 Artists Choice Peer Award for Exceptional, Innovative Work in Any Media. He has won blue ribbons and many other awards of recognition at Indian Market and other forums. In 2010, Philander received a Best of Division award at the Heard Indian Market with a unique concha belt. Surely many more ribbons will come.
He and his wife are raising five children and the oldest boy is already showing artistic promise! His cousin, Lee, is also an accomplished silversmith.