Specializing in Native American Crafts Since 1916

Nora Yazzie

Clay Artist

Artist Profile

Nora Yazzie was born in 1954 into the Navajo Nation. She was born in the Four Corners region of the Navajo Nation. Nora was raised in Farmington, New Mexico and attended a Navajo Methodist mission high school where she was first introduced to the arts through clay, drama and creative writing. Encouraged by her teachers to explore each medium, she entered her first local high school art show and placed first in the clay division. Thus began her journey into the art world.

Nora’s grandparents were influential figures in her work. As a child she was fortunate to have observed and participated in blessing ceremonies performed by her grandfather who was a sandpainter. Her grandmother, a renowned rug weaver and midwife, personified earth mother as she helped bring new life into the world. These important observations served as seeds planted for cultivation of her creative imagination.

Traditional art was always part of her environment, but because there is no word for “art” in the Navajo language, she never questioned the validity of the creative process in a western European sense. Creating is just a way of life for her and her family. Colors come from the earth so land is a natural and essential part of the process. Nora’s mother and grandmother taught her to observe land formations where rug designs come from. Land formations combined with their natural colors are her sole derivatives and her founation when designing a piece. Eventually she hopes to develop and create a monumental sculpture in bronze. Constant growth and stretching ideas into three-dimensional form is an exciting path for her right now.

Recent Work by Nora Yazzie

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