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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Leona Caldwell, Arizona Designer

Greetings Everyone!

I recently learned about a wonderful boutique designer named Leona Caldwell.  She made her own ceramic pieces, used in jewelry and belts, based on ancient Hohokam Native American designs. 
The reason I discovered her is below.  Amongst my grandmother's many collectibles, some of the "discards" going to charity were set aside for me to look at (possibly for jewelry making). 
This signed designer belt was included...I am so glad I got it instead of a thrift store!  Yay!

There are 3 different poses of the baby quail in the belt, all are shown here.

Her signature appears on only one piece.

The entire piece...the leather is stuck now but still pliable.

Isn't he adorable?


Not extremely well known, Leona Caldwell is still quite collectible.  In addition to her ceramic pieces, she also designed (and handmade) dresses and jackets that incorporated the Hohokam designs.  Some designs featured agave, opuntia, owls, phoenix, eagle's eye, quail, and cone flowers. 
A great place to see her clothing is here:

From her obituary I obtained this information:
"Leona H. Caldwell drifted into death April 19, 2003. She was born Leona Holly May 31, 1912, on a farm near Peoria. First of five children born to Bob and Bessie Holly, she was last to survive.

Married in 1933 to Ralph W. Caldwell, Jr. she had two children, Ralph and Pat. While Ralph Jr. was in the Pacific (WWII) she returned to Arizona State Teacher's College in Tempe to study art.

When her husband died in 1954, she expanded her ceramic studio in Phoenix and soon opened Leona Caldwell Originals in the Kiva Craft Center on Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale, neighbor to fellow artisans Lloyd Kiva, Charles Loloma, Paolo Soleri and many others. She created ceramic jewelry and garments silkscreened with original designs inspired by Hohokam artifacts, animals and plants of the Southwestern desert. She retired in 1978 to enjoy her home, garden, and family.

In addition to her two children Ralph W. Caldwell and Patricia L. Konomos, she has five grandchildren: Kevin Higgins, James Konomos (deceased), Karen Markland, Anastasia Konomos, and Ralph T. Caldwell. She is great-grandmother to eight and beloved aunt and friend to many.

She will be remembered by all for her creativity and moral example, and missed for her generosity and love. " 
The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Thanks for reading!
Susan

14 comments:

  1. It's beautiful! I love her quails and roadrunners best, and these little lovelies are no exception. So glad you shared them. :D

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  2. My pleasure! A very talented designer who deserves more recognition.

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  3. wonderful story and great pictures. wonderful to hear and read about those artist and crafters who paved the way for so many today.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Stumbled on your information, and have quoted you in a listing for a baby quail necklace. Published your blog URL and business name, too. Hope that's okay!

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  6. A very dear friend of mine is her granddaughter. What a delight to see some of her work here.

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    1. Wonderful to hear from you. I hope your friend has some fine mementos of her grandmother's work.

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  7. I am that grand daughter! So great to see her talents cherished! Much appreciated

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  8. I am that grand daughter! So great to see her talents cherished! Much appreciated. Karen M

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    1. Hello Karen, I hope you have some of her talent! Nice to hear from you on here.
      Susan

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