Bruce was born in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1959 to a full-blooded Navajo mother and an Anglo father. In those days it was a long ride while in labor from Hotevilla on the Hopi reservation to the little Flagstaff hospital approximately 125 miles away. Bruce’s mother was Mary Hunt Dodge Hodgins from the Toadlena/Crystal area of New Mexico related to the great Chee Dodge. Bruce’s father is of Irish, English, Scottish decent and worked as an educator and school principal all his life on southwestern reservations, starting with the Walapai in the 1940’s and retiring in 1982 after twenty-five years at Hopi.
At Hopi, Bruce studied with Sidney Secakuku, Jr. and learned to make overlay jewelry in true Hopi tradition. As his studies continued in jewelry making and biology at Northern Arizona University Bruce added traditional Navajo styles later working into contemporary pieces that incorporate both Hopi and Navajo characteristics. “My ideas come from many places”, states Bruce, “often I combine traditional with contemporary styles and mix techniques in a subtle way. Our Earth provides many colored stones to use and enjoy and I take advantage of those differences in much of my work. My use of turquoise has been limited in recent years because of my attraction to exotic and domestic stone.”
Today Bruce has evolved into a master silversmith. He is said to build, “a Cadillac” in Indian jewelry using heavy gauge silver and unusual stones. Diverse in his abilities, with an attention to quality and detail, Bruce does all work from design to finish himself. Each work is individually designed with a classic simplicity and each element of his work needs to be itself yet complement other elements. Bruce works with harmony, balance, color, texture, contrasts, repetition, shape, form, tradition and innovation. Bruce is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, hiking, exploring back country and riding his mountain bike. He likes to spend time with his wife Laura, their two dogs and LT the cat.