Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas blessings and adornment

Venaya Yazzie and her 'masani, Jane Werito Yazzie
Photo courtesy of FPL
This is a wonderful season for family. It is also a time for the wonder of cultural adornment. I was blessed to have shared this moment with my loving grand-mother/ mother as we share the presentation of Navajo String Games on the reservation in Shiprock, NM.

We share stories and game techniques with the community and the children.

Pueblo Male Adornment

/Pueblo Man Adornment
Photo by Venaya Yazzie 2014

Friday, December 5, 2014

Yazzgrl Art


Today is a 'beauty-ful' day, the winter birds are singing their morning songs, the western clouds are heavy with rain and the chilly early air is misty; New Mexico is truly blessed.

With this post, I just wanted to share my new website with you. I had previously  launched my official art website at ( but, due to circumstances I not longer have access to that address. This site is one I am still building, but you will still be able to visit and view my pages there. The only difference with this new site address is that I have added an "s" to the end of it.

The new site can be located at
As an artist I must be proactive, therefore I have had created a new website which is exclusively to show my contemporary fine art paintings and conceptual art installations.

Please share with your circle of family and friends, and or those you might enjoy my art.

Be blessed, be a blessing. -Venaya

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Venaya Yazzie and her Ke'staal - Women's Moccasins

Navajo style women's moccasins
Photo by Venaya Yazzie
Within the strong communities across Indian Country, the word has been out that all Indigenous people should, 'rock your mocs.' This was meant to be done within the month of November, which is designated as 'National Native American  Heritage Month.' So, across social media and within the campus of many universities a plethora of Generation X'ers and Millennials, and also manycollege students have been sporting their unique tribal moccasins as a way of showing pride in their identity as 21st century Indigenous peoples.

I truly believe We as Indigenous people should wear our tribal regalia and Our tribal footwear every chance we get! The moccasins pictured here are my own Navajo-style women's moccasins, which are called ke'tsaal, 'big shoes.' Most though refer to this style of moccasins as 'wraps.' These moccasins are made with cow and deer hides and are dyed a reddish-brown color. The shoes itself is permanently attached to a large piece of white deer hide, which when worn is wrapped around the ankle and calf of the woman.

Via Navajo oral tradition, it is said that the women wore this type of moccasin so in their nomadic treks their legs and feet would be protected from the flora and fauna as they walked.

Pueblo women in Indigenous cultural adornment.

Pueblo women in Indigenous cultural adornment.
Historical photograph source: Internet
I so adore this historical photograph, it is an amazing depiction of ancestral Indigenous southwestern desert adornment of tribal women.

In their Indigenous tribal adornment their presence is strong, they truly stand as Pueblo matriarchs of our strong desert ancestry. Simply beauty!

Yazzgrl Art Earrings by Venaya Yazzie

Yazzgrl Art Earrings by Venaya Yazzie
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

As an artist I have always worked to extend my boundaries of my work in many venues, as of now, I am designing and creating wearable art via jewelry. This photo depicts a pair of earrings I made on wooden pieces and acrylic paints and glass embellishments. The abstract designs are inspired by the Navajo rug designs of my matriarchs of the Navajo weavers of my tribe.

Yazzgrl Art Earrings made by Venaya Yazzie

Yazzgrl Art Earrings made by Venaya Yazzie
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

As an artist I have always worked to extend my boundaries of my work in many venues, as of now, I am designing and creating wearable art via jewelry. This photo depicts my earrings I made on wooden pieces and acrylic paints and crystal embellshment. The curved abstract designs are inspired by the flora and fauna of the high-desert southwest in northwestern New Mexico.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Navajo Matriarch - Adorned

My maternal grandmother/ Navajo matriarch
Photo by Venaya Yazzie
Ever since I can remember the people in my family have been 'adorned' in silver and turquoise jewelry. This is still true today, and as an adult I fully appreciate and adore such ways of being as a Navajo person.
I am blessed to have my maternal grandmother in my life now, for her stories of the family and the cultural ways of our Navajo people inspire my to keep working on instilling the Navajo traditions and practices in the 21st century.

Navajo creatiion - Squash Blossom: a Navajo art

Sterling silver Squash Blossom Necklace
Photo credit: Internet
This necklace is beautiful. The pure aesthetic quality of this jewelry piece has a direct link to the Navajo people of the American southwest.
My work in the area of Navajo oral history has allowed for me to hear a plethora of traditional stories of the legacy of Navajo jewelry from the beginnings of Navajo creation to the present day 21st century.
Of those stories the most intriguing are those histories that are linked the Navajo Squash Blossom necklace. This jewelry piece is a pure Navajo creation that was inspired by the mother-land of the Navajo. As Navajo people were introduced to European silversmith techniques, soon many artists who were making jewelry were influenced by their immediate surroundings.
The arrival of the Anglo pioneers, Mexican groups and Spaniard conquistadors to the desert lands of the Navajo and Pueblo people, definitely influenced the artistry of many early Navajo jewelry artists. One of the focal inspirations was the metal pendants of fully adorned Spaniard horses, who wore such 'half-moon- medallions on their foreheads. But, before the Navajo were a making the 'naja' medallions they were wearing the Spaniard pendants that they would have taken from the horses, as a way of 'counting coup.'
As the Navajo artist became more skilled in the techniques of silversmith work, they would soon add the accompanying side 'blossoms.' Many non-Indigenous researches say this addition as do to the Navajo's influence by pomegranate fruits, which could be nothing further from the truth. In the early days, Navajo people did not see, use or consume such exotic fruits, for such fruits do not grow in the desert southwest. Instead the flora and fauna the Navajo people seen, utilized and ate was elements of the desert yucca plant and its fruit.
Soon the Navajo jewelry artists created and added the Navajo 'blossoms' to the 'naja' medallion. The 'blossoms' were a direct inspiration from the blossoming yucca flower blossoms.
Nowadays, the Squash Blossom necklace is made by other southwestern tribal people, and recently I have found that non-Native, non-tribal people are making the Squash Blossom necklace. There are pros and cons to this activity, but if a collector of fine Navajo jewelry wants to be true the artistry of the necklace, they should buy a Squash Blossom Necklace designed and created by a Navajo jewelry artist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Autumn change and blessings

Autumn leaves in Eastern Navajo Nation, NM
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

Blessings to you!

I would like to extend my gratitude to you all who view my blog. I am thankful for your comments and interest in Indigenous Adornment in the American Southwest. I too, am thankful for the change of seasons, and to witness the ways in which the Earth is 'adorned' in new colors as the high desert southwest flora and fauna make their change.

At this time of season, many of the Navajo and Pueblo dances and ceremonial life is in full effect, therefore, many of the Indigenous People are indeed 'adorned' in their finest traditional jewelry.

We are blessed to be a part of this season, this journey and ability to be inspired by Indigenous southwest culture. We are rich indeed!