On the trip to Yellowstone National Park last fall, we overnighted in moderate Best Western hotel in a small town of West Yellowstone, Montana. Population about 1400. Main street, shops and restaurants covered maybe two blocks. It looked like from the Wild West movies. The locations served us well, easy access to the park in the morning, easy back to hotel when the sun was setting.
A couple of shop on the street intrigued my interest, but window-shopping did not call me in on the first night. Lots of touristy items, small trinkets mainly, you know T-shirts and a like. Second night after a delicious Italian dinner, and lovely service, we stopped by the window with native American Indian art. Jewelry, small pottery, collectables, feather items, weavings.
There was a piece of pottery on the display which I did not see the night before. Maybe it was not there before or maybe I was too tired after an long day in the park. “I have to go in and check on this, it looks very much like Acoma!” But it was late. The door was around the corner. To our surprise it was ajar. We squeezed in. “Are you open?” “Yes!” I can not play I-am-not-interested-on-this-just-looking-around-game-thanks. My face tells I am. So I immediately pointed out a pottery on the window display, which I thought I recognized and asked about it. The young sales lady picked it up, but did not have immediately too much information on it. I said it looks like some pottery I have from Frederica Antonio. She asked if we had little more time, the shop owner should be back very soon. Sure. We looked at the other pieces of art. I do not pick up too much little things from our travel any longer, I find they get lost in the jewelry boxes and who knows where. Mostly given eventually as gifts to our children or friends after the travel. And they get lost in their boxes.
A little while later a man with leather hat, long curly hair and spectacles entered and stayed quietly listening out small talk with the girl. He looked like a gold digger from the movies, I thought. Or gold prospector from 1880’s. The entire looks was just right. Genuine. We were introduced to the owner of the company, Mr. Hans Chr. Baier.
The pottery was removed from the shelf again, and we started the conversation on it and native pottery in general. He was a load of information having traveled thru multitude of reservations to collect items to his store. We discussed the prices in the big cities like Santa Fe. We talked about places we have been. And where I come from. “Can you guess what my middle name Chr. stands for?” he asked. Christian! Hans Christian like Andersen! Yes, he comes from a Danish family. He visits there frequently also, thus we picked up the conversation there, sharing our Danish stories. Back to the pottery in display. Yes it is from Acoma artist, but not Frederica, her name is M.C. That is Melissa. That I found out once at home. I have already one small pot from Melissa! That is just plain black and white checks. We picked it up on the Sky City New Mexico, a few years back.
He had previously told the girl in his shop, the pottery is a unique but someday somebody will step into the store, and know what it is. I guess Hans sensed my love for the tribe and their art. We talked about Indian tribes and pottery in general. We started the negotiating the price. My hubby is so good, he knows I love pottery and I have not spent ANY money on this trip yet. We waited, calculator tapping accompanying the small talk. We gave Hans time, we were not in rush. And the deal was made! Happy, happy, happy. Hans said he knew the pottery was going to a good home, winter was coming and he did not want to leave the valuable pottery in to winter storage. We were there now and we loved it. “It would get a good home.” he said. “Yes, it will get a good home.”
We must have stayed there over an hour, they might have had to close already, but time did not seem to matter. The young girl was on her third day of work, I am sure she learned a lot that night. We were so delighted to have stopped into the store and delighted to have had the conversations and cherish the knowledge he had on his ware and the native art. Thank you Hans Christian, we loved the fairytales!
Yellowstone Silver Co. has been in business since 1975, in West Yellowstone. The store carries an excellent assortment of the finest sterling silver American Indian Jewelry and native art collectibles. The store features a variety of gift items, mainly southwest and western. Shoppers will also find the latest sterling silver fashion jewelry, unique and distinctive, and very affordable prices. We are easy to locate in the open air mall at 110 Canyon Street, the West Park Mall.