Silversmith Steve Taylor’s intricate silver designs begin with a length of wire.
“What I’ve done is invent a technique,” Taylor explains. “I take silver wire, straighten it and sauder it together into a sheet. Then I cut up the sheet and fit the pieces together to create the shapes.”
Silver light gleams off of Taylor’s geometric shapes and perfectly placed lines that grace rings, earrings, bracelets, bolo ties, pill boxes and belt buckles.
“Steve’s styles range from contemporary to Southwestern to art deco,” says Rick Smith, owner of the Oldest House Indian Shop. “His work is appreciated by many collectors.”
Taylor developed his technique in 1987 and has used it exclusively ever since.
“It has taken over my life,” he says. “It’s a happy happenstance to stumble upon a technique. And I’m not bored with it yet. I’m always looking for new ways to put together a straight line.”
Taylor started taking art classes in high school, cutting stone and doing lapidary work. Then he decided to put jewelry around those stones. Making jewelry since 1970, Taylor says that when he graduated from high school in Colorado his father, an engineer with the Martin Company building Titan rockets, told him he would give him $300 to attend the outdoor education program Outward Bound or to buy jewelry making tools. He picked the tools. “It’s been a bad habit ever since!” he laughs.
Taylor moved to Santa Fe in 1979 and had warehouse space where he made jewelry in what is now the Santa Fe Railyards. His father came to visit him early on in Santa Fe. “He saw what I was up to and said, ‘It just amazes me,’” Taylor remembers. “He was impressed and that sure made me happy. I inherited some of his engineering skills; there’s a fine line between art and science.”
Today Taylor lives down a dirt road south of Santa Fe and creates amid New Mexico’s geology and archeology and among the jay birds, coyotes, snakes and ravens. “This is the perfect place for me,” he says.
Find Taylor’s designs at the Oldest House Indian Shop at 215 E. De Vargas St. in Santa Fe. Or visit the Oldest House Indian Shop online at www.oldesthouseindianshop.com. Reach the shop by phone at 505-988-2488.