On the trail of the White Buffalo

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Museum quality Native American art comes to Landrum

LANDRUM — Walking into the building is like walking into another time or world.

Native American flute music wraps around the soul, bringing peaceful visions of cool forests and hidden canyons. In antique display cases, silver jewelry is set with sky-blue turquoise, the deep blue of lapis and jet blacks of onyx.

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In other cases, intricately patterned horse hair pottery and Hopi etched black pots are displayed next to carved sandstone “Corn Maidens” and handcarved marble buffalos. The walls are filled with war shields, drums, dream catchers, quivers and ceremonial masks.

The little shop looks like a museum in Cherokee, or somewhere out West, but it is actually a new store in Landrum named White Buffalo Collectibles, A Native American Gallery.

Mike and Kristal Loescher have been collecting and selling Native American art online for at least 20 years. They moved from Daytona Beach to Landrum two years ago to be with family.

“I’ve been living with display cases in my living room for two years,” Kristal said. “This is the first brick and mortar store we’ve ever had.”

Kristal said her husband ran a NASCAR training school in Daytona.

“We started traveling out West and would find this beautiful art,” she said. “Some of this is very old, and hasn’t been out of the box for years.”

Most of the pieces in the White Buffalo are museum quality, many by very well-known and admired artists. Some of the artists have passed away and now their work is irreplaceable.

A few of the better known artists include carved marble while buffalo statues by Navaho Ben Livingston, Hopi-etched black pottery by “Dalawepi” Ergil F. Vallo, and hard-to-find “Story Teller” statues by Arapaho Rose Pecos-Sun Rhodes from the Wind River Reservation.

Shiann Summer’s favorite pieces in the new White Buffalo store in Landrum are the Painted Ponies by Enesco. (Photo by Catherine Hunter/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

Kristal tells stories of how they found many of the beautiful pieces in the collection.

One story includes finding a famous Native American artist bringing her corn maiden statues to a dealer. The artists had wrapped the statues in tissues and placed them in a simple shoe box to try and sell.

Another time, Mike had only $800 in his pocket and said to the artist, he did not want to insult her, but would she take that for a pair of moccasins? Kristal said the woman begin to cry and said she could feed her children that week.

Other stories include visiting the artists’ homes and sitting around hearing stories with the family.

“A lot of people today don’t understand the time, effort, skill and tradition that goes into making these pieces,” she said. “It can take months to finish beading like that.”

In addition to the Native American-themed pieces, the White Buffalo has handmade furniture by Brian Fireman, of Landrum, and beautiful horse statues from “The Trail of Painted Ponies” collection by Enosco. Kristal said they plan to stock more horse art for the horse community in the area.

“We have something for everyone and every budget,” Kristal said. “From $10 to $6,000.”

Mike and Kristal had a soft opening of the White Buffalo last week. They hope to have a grand opening by the end of the month.

The shop is located at 205 E. Rutherford St. and is currently open Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and maybe some Thursdays. Kristal said as they get more settled, she hopes to be open seven days a week.

For more information, visit whitebuffalo.biz.