Teacher, Collector, Dealer & Promoter

At ten years old, after believing I was a Native American, I found out playing with Native children didn’t make me a real Native American. I started collecting Indian art instead. I sold my baseball card collection to a neighbor for $10 and went to the Kachina Store in Lake Tahoe (The Old Miners Cabin, Tahoe City). I extensively researched one kachina and I found out who the Hopi people were, where they had lived, and what their kachina culture was.

Within twenty years, this one kachina led to a collection of over one hundred Native American items from rare artifacts to tourist items. Yes, I was hooked as a collector. I attended every Native American Art show I could within fifty miles of Concord, CA: UC Davis Pow Wow, Monterey Indian Art Show, and UC Davis Indian Art Show—all now vanished.

Another one hundred items later and I was ready to sell some Treasures. There was an Indian Art Show coming to the Alameda Country Fair Grounds in Pleasanton Ca, being put on by the Traders Guild. Upon inquiring about the date, time, and admission fee, the promoter and I began talking about our mutual interest in Native American art and culture. He asked me why I hadn’t rented a booth to sell my overstock. That interchange made me realize this is something I wanted to do.

During the first day of my show, I wondered how I had gone from a buyer, to a collector, to a dealer? And, most importantly, did I really want to sell some of my collection? The second day of the show I sold my first Kachina that I purchased at ten years old for $175, and I was bitten by the dealer bug. As a dealer I successfully attended many fine shows for the next ten years and met many fine people. Promoters who were role models to me included Kim Martindale, Dick and Paula Plum and Merlin Carlson. As the years passed many shows folded; people blamed it on E-Bay and the lack of interest by the younger generations.

At this point I was getting ready to retire and decided to rent a small space at the Alamo California Women’s Club to promote a Native American Art Show. The show became a great success and lasted for three years. We then had run out of dealer space and the building was not large enough for all the customers who came to visit.
Upon my official retirement from my teaching career at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, I started looking for a bigger venue. After soul searching for months and gathering information from the pros, I decided to move the Alamo show to Pleasanton and reintroduce Native art to the area. I picked the end of September as our annual date because it did not conflict with other shows. I chose the name of Todos Santos Trading Post as the company name and titled the show The Great Native American Artifact and Art Show.

Our first year was successful but a larger building was more challenging. The second year, having met our challenges, we doubled our attendance and had great reviews from the public.

I created a web page for the benefit of our dealers and customers and went to work on year three. With all the updates and hard work I can now say with pride: Todos Santos Trading Post celebrates the 3rd annual Great Native American Art and Artifact Show.

This successful marketplace features the finest examples of contemporary and antique Native American Art. It also includes an array of rare and antique artifacts. We are proud to showcase many of the nations Native American artists. To name a few:

Debbie Martinez-Rambeau from Earth to Hand —- Gourd Art Vessels and Quilts
Betty Fuller from Greyday Child —- Navajo Sterling Silver Jewelry
Bud Gonzales from Two Bears —- Zuni Fetishes
Tony Mitchell from O’Teo’s Creations —- Contemporary Silver Jewelry
Enrique de los Angeles from Alma Z —- Hand woven Textiles and Rugs
Barbara Murphy from Sundance —- Baskets and Beadwork

Along with these fine Native artists there will be collectors selling and displaying their wares from various areas around the United States. Fine collections of Hopi Kachinas, North West Coast totem poles, period Pueblo Pottery, pawn jewelry and many rare artifacts will be available for sale.

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I guess I am now the promoter I always wanted to become! Please come and join us.

This event takes place at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA, on September 27th and 28th, 2014 from 10:00 to 4:00 daily. Admission is $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors and children are free. Looking forward to seeing you at this exciting, informative tri-valley event. For further information please contact Don Phelps at Web page: pleasantonindianartshow.com or contact Don Phelps at phelpststp@gmail.com.

 

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