FIRST YEAR MAKING ART:
How old were you the first time you made a basket?
I was 12 years old when I made my first basket. It was a small traditional Navajo wedding basket and I sold it for $50.
Who taught you?
My mother would teach me when I wasn’t in school.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Shonto, AZ.
That is very remote, did you go to school in Shonto?
I went to the boarding school there until high school. I finished school in Page.
Did you attend boarding school in Page?
No, it was Page Unified School District, public school.
That had to be a haul everyday?
It took 35 minutes from my house to the bus stop. So my mom would drive me each morning to the stop, and then I would get on the bus around 6 am. We would arrive at school around 7:40. It all started over again when school let out at 3:30.
Did you miss any school?
I had to make up some days.
When did you start making these large baskets?
My mother and I worked on a basket in 1993 together. That was my first big basket.
Where did you sell the piece?
We really didn’t know what to sell the basket for, it was the first one for both of us. It was sold to a Trading Post in Teec Nos Pos for $5200.
How many have you made since then?
Three large baskets on my own and one with my mother. This one took me over 4 months and is much bigger than the last one I brought here.
Where did you get the idea for the design?
My mother had pictures of very old Apache baskets and that is what I used for inspiration.
What do you make the basket from?
Everything is from sumac. I take full branches and tear them into three pieces. Each layer consist of 5 coil, one on the top and two on the bottom, creating a pyramid look. The dyes are natural, from clay and herbs.
Do you participate in art shows?
In 2003 I was invited to do a demonstration at the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe during the Indian Market. I had baskets around me that were finished and weaving one, people would see the baskets on the ground and understand what it was I was making.
Do you make baskets fulltime?
No, I am working on completing my nursing degree so I am busy with school.
Do you do it to relax?
(laughs) It is not relaxing, my back hurts, it makes me tired, and my fingers get really sore.
Thanks, we will put this basket in the Inter-Tribal Ceremonial.