Daniel, a member of the new generation of Santo Domingo artists, comes from a long line of jewelers, including his father (who actually discouraged him from going into the family business). He’s been a farmer, a soldier, a nurse—he currently works as a nurse at St. Vincent’s hospital in Santa Fe. Yet during all these careers, his interest in jewelry making never lessened.
As a boy, Daniel was fascinated by the traditional techniques used by is elders as they painstakingly created beautiful beads on the bead-rolling soapstone. Then he began making beads himself, experimenting with different styles. Today, his look is traditional and contemporary—very clean and polished. Although his signature diagonal-channel inlay is very precise and modern, Daniel manages to preserve the traditional Santo Domingo look with his beads. He also continues to use shell and stones obtained from traditional sources: bone from the Inuit, shell from South America, turquoise from the Southwest and jet from Acoma Pueblo. Although Daniel incorporates new stones such as gaspeite and opal into his work, his love for the traditional and ceremonial is always in evidence.