The art of stamping

A universal technique found in every culture with a metalworking tradition

By Virginia L. Clark
Posted 2/13/20

There's a hush of holiness about "The Art of Stamping" (Brynmorgen Press, 2019; $40), the second book by former Taoseño Matthieu Chiminée, exploring the multifaceted world of metal stamp-making.

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The art of stamping

A universal technique found in every culture with a metalworking tradition

Posted

There's a hush of holiness about "The Art of Stamping" (Brynmorgen Press, 2019; $40), the second book by former Taoseño Matthieu Chiminée, exploring the multifaceted world of metal stamp-making. In the book, he also retraces his life as a jeweler from New Mexico to Mali and finally now to Montreal, Quebec. This is clearly a passion, a labor of love for all concerned.

Significantly, Chiminée includes profiles of stamp masters, his friends and teachers of Taos, the Southwest and around the world, many of whom will be present at the Taos book launch reception Saturday (Feb. 15) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Mesa's Edge, 107-A North Taos Plaza, where Chiminée's work has been represented for over 15 years.

"A majority of the stamp work featured is from the American Southwest," said longtime Mesa's Edge staffer Julie Osmanski. "He's a brilliant jeweler. 'The Art of Stamping' is wonderful because it's both about the technique behind it, plus the movers and shakers of the stamping world - especially focusing on Taos and New Mexico artists, who are some of the best in the world."

Among the book's 19 artist profiles, Chiminée also profiles the "Taos Smiths," a group of jewelers who rented an outbuilding at the Mabel Dodge Lujan estate in the '70s. Taos metalworkers Seth Brown, Jeff Morris, Pepe Rochon, Mona Van Riper (now of Santa Fe) and other jewelers had a jewelry studio with torches, lapidary and casting machines. Brown is quoted in the book as saying the group's focus was "to make the best jewelry we could, and some of the best work I have ever seen came out of that period, mostly between 1973 and 1978" (page 188).

Van Riper is quoted detailing the quality of Taos stamping that has made Taos a leader in the stamp world. "I learned to stamp in the Taos style of stamping. It is the closest to the really good Native stamp work, very clean and tight with stamps made by the artists. It has a different look" (page 194).

In a phone interview from Montreal last week, Chiminée said he's expecting all of the Taos artists to attend the reception, and hopefully the Navajo stampers from Gallup, New Mexico, specifically the fourth-generation jeweler on his father's side, Lyle Secatero, among others.

"I'm pretty sure Jeff Morris, Seth Brown, Rick Montaño, Pepe Rochon and Sonny Spruce of Taos Pueblo will be there. And I think Mona Van Riper from Santa Fe will be there and maybe Jennifer Curtis from Albuquerque. I think it's going to be fun to see all of them."

Chiminée created a foundation to provide jewelry tools to people who need them, typically to jewelers in Mali, Senegal and other West African countries, where he worked for several years. Currently he works from his private workshop and teaches at the Montreal Jewelry School. He also gives workshops throughout North America.

Copies of "The Art of Stamping" will be available for purchase at the reception. In addition, Mesa's Edge will have metalwork by Cheminée, Morris, Secatero and Curtis available to view and for sale. For more information, contact Mesa's Edge at (575) 758-3455 or Facebook Mesa's Edge.

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