Thursday, August 11, 2016

BlueBird Handbag

BlueBird Handbag made by Venaya Yazzie
Photo courtesy of Venaya Yazzie

I everything I create I strive to make it original. As I've posted before I was inspired to make these Blue.Bird bags by my grandmother, who was constantly re-using and thus making items with the bags.

With this new line of my bags I have decided on original screenprinting on the cotton fabric. Using black ink and the black ric rack and ribbon give definition to the new line of my Blue.Bird handbags. I also have added a handmade tassle for a signature.

Look for this new line at the Gallup Inter-tribal Ceremonial at Red Rocks State Park near Gallup, NM and at the Indigenous Fine Arts Market in Santa Fe, NM.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Update - Bead Fusion - Yazzgrl Art

Bead Fusion - Yazzgrl Art
Photo credit Venaya Yazzie

Update on my 'Bead Fusion' project.

I am down to the wire on this project, I have eight days to complete including the presentation of if (framing it). And then it will be ready to view and purchase at the Indigenous Fine Arts Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico this August.

Maybe I'll see ya there!  Blessings

Trek the Nature

Trekkin' the Nature
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

Hiking the 'beautyful' outdoors is my favorite time in life. It is in the Nature that I am able to be humbled in a good way and find gratitude for the life I have.

This image was taken on a trek recently to the Santa Fe area. I was able to stop off and do some exploring in the mountain area.

This season is the best time to be outside trekking. For me its a time to become inspired by the randomness of the wild: the trees, plants, flora, water, and sky and animals.  I always find blessings in the outdoor treks. Enjoy it!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Beadwork fusion - Yazzgrl Art

Yazzgrl Studio is my beadwork fusion by Venaya

Recent works in the Yazzgrl Studio is my beadwork fusion.

As you may know I am a painter, but I also love doing beadwork.  One day I had the lightbulb go off and the Muse clapped and I was inspired to make something new!

I decided to fuse my painting imagery with my beadwork. This is the result. I am currently will working on this piece an will debut it later this month in Santa Fe, during the IFAM and Indian Market festivities.

I am happy about it.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Grandpa Yazzie - My Hero

Venaya's great-grandfather
Photo courtesy of Venaya Yazzie

Last week I was b l e s s e d to receive this image.

Even now when I look at this image tears gather like the desert monsoon clouds in my eyes... this 'beautyful' man pictured on the right is my maternal great-grandfather. This man is a hero. He is a hero I never knew. He passed on from this world before I could meet him - his name was Frank Padilla Yazzie. He was my late maternal grandfather's oldest son Alfred.

Since I never seen a clear image of him, this image means so, so much to me. I am so very thankful beyond words to have this image in my life. This image of a man with dark hair, headband, adorned in beautyful turquoise is branded in the hallways of my brain. This image of my chei has entered my life path, at the right time, and now I have come to realize how I 'see' life a bit different now.

Via my family oral history it is said my chei was a great Navajo 'singer. My 'papa' Alfred said his dad was a great singer and was revered in the Chaco Canyon / Kimbeto area for his singing. I know that is where my 'papa' Alfred was blessed also to be a great singer with a brilliant melody.

My late 'papa' Alfred used to tell me stories of his own childhood growing up near the wash north of the Chaco Canyon ruins. Since he lost his mother as an infant he and the rest of his siblings where raised by their father. As a "single" dad my great grandfather was a wearer of many hats to help support his kids. He worked at the local trading post, he wove rugs, we made jewelry, he sewed and so much more! With this knowledge of my chei I know this is where I also got my gift of being gifted in a multitude of different ways of the Creative.

He was a Dine' man of the To'aheedlini (or Two Waters Flow Together Clan) and he was a man of the Medicine way, and he was a singer and dance in the Navajo Yei-Bei-Chei dances.


I wish I could have known him - but he is forever a hero to me as are most of my family members.
I cherish the stories I have of him and I keep his 'resilient' way of survival as a part of my own personal mantra in life.  My love and adoration of for my great grandfather is immense, my 'cup runneth over.'


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Blessings

I have always wanted to meet my maternal great-grandfather.

Last week an aunt gave me picture of him. It was a texted photo that she received from his oldest sister from Shiprock.

All I could do was tear up and cried some - to see the image of your great-grandfather's face is absolute healing....

I have been looking at the photo everyday since and I feel so blessed...

I will post this image soon and share his story and my story of 'indigenous adornment.'


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Evoking the 'Matriarch' - Venaya's sewing expression

Blue Bird Hand Bag made by Venaya Yaazie

Life is a blessing.

In my life I have had many turmoils and many obstacles in my path, but thankfully I have endured and I have been blessed with a good life. I credit most of what I have and who I am to my maternal grandmother. I adore all that she is and all that she does. She is my muse and I devote my life to her.

The 'goodest' thing she share and taught me in life is to sew. As long as I can remember I seen my matriarchs enveloped in the ritual and process of sewing. As a young child I recall my maternal great-grandmother doing her sewing or in the sacred act of weaving. It is these memories that flood my mind, in turn I am inspired to create.

My family has always been 'recylcers'. Don't know if that is a word but I like it. Yes, so my matriarchs have always saved and reused, re-purposed items. One of these items is the cotton Blue Bird Flour sack. I recall them storing dried corn, beans and other foods in the sacks. Other time is seen how my grandmother used the sack to store her socks and scarves. And it was'nt just he sack itself, but the cotton thread (string) used to sewn the back closed. My great grandmother used it as  means of wearing her turquoise earrings, and she would use the string when some young person had their ears pierced.

It is these acts of re-purposing that I have come to make my Blue Bird Handbags (BBHB) I really first started designing and making these bags in 2008 and since then have made literally hundreds of them . I 've some them all over the west and some of my BBHBags have made to Scotland and London!  I make these bag in honor my matriarchs and their dedication to the women's community of sewing handmade things.

I have even made bears and moccasins using the Blue Bird flour sacks. I will continue to make more and am amidst sewing as I prepare for the Indigenous Fine Arts Market in Santa Fe in August.

In a good way.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tradition of Fruit

Apricot rituals
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

I can recall moments of my maternal grandmother and aunts canning fruit. These are images ingrained in my brain and have lead me to follow the images.

Last week my mother visited and she brought buckets of apricots with her. So with such an abundance of sweet fruit, I expressed that we should make some jam and can some of the fruit, thus the process of canning was re-ignited.

My aunt explained to me how to she and grandmother would begin the process. We first gathered the dusty glass Kerr jars and hunted the lids. The whole day was amazing, I loved the scent of cooking apricots on the stove. And as a visual artist I fell in love with the brilliant, beautiful orange hue of the apricots.

Fruits such as apricots, peaches, apples and pears are treasure items in the Navajo culture. Our oral history stories speak of such sweet fruits and in our many experiences we have the story of how such fruits were destroyed by the government at one time as means of tactical combat. In the era of the Navajo Long Walk, called Hweeldi (the time of sorrow), General Kit Carson ordered his soldiers to burn and destroy the peach and apple fields of the Navajos in Canyon De Chelly in Arizona. This was an act of evil and I despise his actions. He did such nonsense as a way of getting the Navajos to leave the canyon as he would force them to walk to Fort Sumner, NM where and internment camp awaited my ancestors.

This story is hard for me to share, but it must be told for it is also ingrained in my brain. It is a pure miracle that We as Dine', as Navajo have survived genocide and I believe this was made so by our collective prayers we uttered then and now. My Navajo people have a rich story embedded with deep cuts and rivers of sorrow, but we are resilient and in 2016 we are prosperous! WE have our 'beautyful' land and rivers, and our immense canyons and desert plains. We have our Navajo language and our stories of origin and survival and for that we are rich.

One would not ever think to relate fruits with the desert Navajo people, but we have such connections to them, some sour, but mostly a sweet heritage we treasure.

Desert rain

Monsoon rains
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

Desert rain. The utterance of that phrase is like the sweetest candy. Finally it seems the high-desert has been blessed by the nomadic clouds via monsoon rains in our arid lands in northwestern New Mexico.

I captured this moment in time as the rains arrived to the San Juan Valley. I am always inspired by the rain, and this has been so. I can remember the days of my childhood and how it rained so much more in the dry desert at Huerfano, NM. I can recall how all of us cousins would stand and run in the downpours of monsoon rain. We never ran from the rain or try to 'shelter' ourselves from it. Instead we'd open our mouths to the heavens, hold our hands out and welcome the rain. Those were beautiful moments of the early 1980s, when we as Navajo desert children actually played and explored the outdoors in nature. We had no use  of technology because we dialogued with each other and told stories of our imaginations, thus we 'loved' the land and had reverence for her.

Today I watch my little cousins and other relatives with cell phones and electronic devices in their hands, their brown eyes glued to tiny screens. I am sad for them, as they will never know the pure joy of the Land. They will never come to really see the beauty of the nature world around them.  I may sound a pessimist in this expression, but I really believe that era in which I was able to experience is forever in the past, technology has come to us as an 'evil doer' in my mind - for it has taken Our Navajo children and youth hostage...

As an adult I still truly love the land. I enjoy every moment I can spend outdoors and it is here that I find inspiration and solace. And, it is in the nature that I express and experience prayer. In Navajo we express the act of prayer as sodizin.

This way of being was instilled in my by my Dine' matriarchs. They taught us Werito-Yazzie children that prayer is everything. That prayer holds every that is good and it will bring life a 'balance.' So for me, prayer is my rain. I know when pray pours out of me and for my by others, my life will be richly blessed.  That is how it is.

Hozho Iina.

Friday, July 1, 2016