My name is Victoria Haley-Anderson, a 5th generation beadmaker, youngest child of three to parents Benjamin and Ruby B. Haley, and mother of Faith. My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents are very accomplished silversmiths on both maternal and parental sides. I am a very proud mother, wife, aunt, daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter. My birthplace is Fort Defiance, AZ, but I grew up around Gallup, NM. Now I reside in Farmington, a place I enjoy deeply and where I met my husband Mr. Anderson. Coming from a long history of beadmaking can be intimidating because it’s about carrying the legacy, but with it, comes errors. It took countless years to perfect, and I am finally there. Through the years I went from traditional plain beads to contemporary textures. The challenge was to further preserve valuable aspects of our lives and transfer them onto silver. The beads contain somewhat of a time capsule, each specifically crafted using unique abstract tools to engrave them.
Stories were always told about how we first began our journey as silversmiths. Beadmaking began with my mother Ruby’s paternal side, his name Hastii Litsooii Lee, known as Yellowman. He is the father to Elsie Lee Becenti (Ruby’s grandmother). Together they passed silversmithing on to Ned Becenti Sr (Ruby‘s father), then later his wife Rhoda. Like their silversmith stories, mine also began at a young age. I was six years old when mom gradually taught me how to curve (bend) silver, while grandma Rhoda guided with a tiny hammer. Around age 10 curving became easier, and by 11 I was involved in more intense tasks like helping roll silver, cut circle disks, and trim edges using a silver scissor cutter. I’d also observe my dad work, and he taught me numerous tasks like how to file, buff, cut silver plates, and shape tubings. His incredible background helped model parts of my work done now. After college, our most beloved grandma passed just two years after graduation. Rhoda dedicated a lot of time towards my whole life, and when she left, devastation took over for a while. Out of love and tribute, it was finally time to choose beadmaking as a full-time devotion to her, my parents, and their history. This huge loss gave one of few reasons to freeze images onto work. Beadmaking is a personal bond and where family roots sit, something I continue to support and help protect.
We pray and bless every bead with burned sage, and drink water to purify before handing them over. It is an important tradition carried down, which allows the Holy Spirit World to hear and feel them. If you own my gathering of abstract expressions and wonderful prints, Ahehee’ (thank you) for making it possible. These are reflections of spiritual and personal experiences, parents and memorable relations. We all must try to remember that the old ways that were once prominent could fade and end like the Navajo language, but despite change, your contributions will always have purpose. It helps keep values and history alive. We give an enormous appreciation, for without you, the beautiful silver beadwork would not thrive today. May blessings guide your spirits to life's greatest joys.