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Leonard Nez
NAVAJO SILVERSMITH

Leonard Nez is a quiet man. In his stillness, he is listening carefully. "My inspiration comes from many places--from the Lord, from the people who appreciate my work, many times even from my 7 year-old daughter.

"I pray to the Lord about my designs and sometimes, sitting in church, a design will come to me, as if on a whisper."

Leonard also watches Bettilyn, his daughter, as she helps him with his work. "She will pick up silver scraps and see a design, a way to use the silver. This inspires me to see different things in the silver."

What Leonard sees is a simple, yet powerful, way to form silver into lasting expressions of his own. Leonard is known for his skillful work in heavy-gauge silver and gold. "I am encouraged by the support and appreciation of my customers."

Leonard can also take pride in the many awards bestowed on his creations. Since first competing in 1993, Leonard has consistently walked away with Best in Show at some of the most prestigious juried competitions:

  • 1993-Best of Show, Best of Craftsman, Best of Bolo/Bucket set, Santa Monica Arts & Crafts
  • 1994-Gallup Ceremonial, Second Overall for coral necklace, earring, and ring set
  • * 1994-Amarillo Arts & Crafts, salt & pepper shaker, cream bowl & spoons won Best of Craftsman & Best of Show Leonard also has a silver bowl with lid and stand on permanent display at the Smithsonian.

"I want each piece to be better than the last. I do my own designs, the ones that speak to me."

While the rest of the world bustles along on its noisy path, Leonard is quietly paying attention and finding his own way.