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Traditional and Contemporary Concepts of Tufa and Cuttlebone Casting

June 9 - 14, 2024

Jonah Hill/Lomayoosi Designs  ·  lomayoosi.com

Workshop at a glance

In this workshop, students will learn the various methods and techniques utilized in the tufa and cuttlebone casting processes practiced by the native peoples of the Southwest, and create a unique piece of wearable art.


  • Carving
  • Casting
  • Soldering
  • Polishing


  • Fine or Sterling Silver
  • Silver casting grain or clean scrap
  • Copper
  • Gold


  • Casting techniques
  • Cultural history
  • Basic silversmithing techniques

Artist Bio

Love, light, and happiness are the keys to the universe. I try to express these keys in my artwork. Whether I am working with wood, metal, photography, or printmaking, I try to let these elements flow through me and into my work. I use the creative process to capture the physical being of these elements, as they exist in nature. These concepts live in the hint of a smile, in the leaf of a plant, and in the movement of the wind and water.

Jonah Hill is from the Hopi reservation in Northern Arizona and currently reside in Flagstaff. To the Hopi, water plays an important part of daily life. As dry farmers, the Hopi rely on annual rain and snowfall to benefit their crops and orchards. Spirituality and ceremony are also a daily part of living, and being connected to place and nature has given Hill inspiration for his work. Jonah Hill has been an artist for over ten years working in wooden carving, printmaking, gourd artwork, metal work and natural building. He is also a former river guide, environmental educator, and ethnobotanist. He has exhibited his work in numerous shows and galleries, including at the Museum of Northern Arizona, and Pottery of the Southwest Gallery, in Santa Fe New Mexico.

  • Jonah Hill
  • Jonah Hill
  • Jonah Hill
  • Jonah Hill
  • Jonah Hill
  • Jonah Hill

Workshop Description

This workshop will focus on various ways to create a unique piece of jewelry utilizing the tufa and cuttlebone casting methods. Students will learn to select, carve, and prepare the materials (tufa stone — a volcanic material, and cuttlebone — cuttlebone fish cartilage), safely while carving, learn the various ways to melt metal using an oxy/acetylene torch setup and electric kiln, and how to prepare molds and pour metal for successful casting. Students will learn the history of materials used in the Southwest by the Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni peoples since the 1800s. Students will leave this workshop with confidence and enthusiasm to create works in their own studios.


The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is a priority at Arrowmont. To that end, a Personal Conduct & Social Distancing Policy has been adopted to foster a safe learning environment during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for the detailed Policy.


In order to complete your registration, a $300 deposit is required.

Call 865-436-5860 with questions about registering for this workshop.

ART WORKSTENNESSEE ARTS COMMISIONTENNESSEE FOR THE ARTSTennessee Specialty License PlatesEAST TENNESSEE FOUNDATIONWindgate Foundation Arrowmont is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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