AWJ Guest Artist to Receive Governor’s Award

We are so excited for our dear friend and guest designer Jody Naranjo who is being recognized this September 2018 with a New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in Art.

Tewa potter Jody Naranjo

The Governor’s Award

The Governor’s Award was established in 1974 by former New Mexico Governor Bruce King and former First Lady Alive King to celebrate the role that artists, craftspeople, and arts supporters play in the culture and economic life of the state.

This September 14, Jody will become one of these elite artists that include the likes of painter Tony Abeyta (2012 awardee) and Native American actor Wes Studi (2010).

Jody, who comes from a long line of Tewa potters and artists from Santa Clara Pueblo has been an artist since the age of 8. “She is not afraid to push beyond the conventional treatment of Tewa pottery. Her forays into bronze sculpture and glass have demonstrated her ability to challenge herself beyond the limitations and safety of one medium,” said owner of the Santa Fe Blue Rain Gallery Leroy Garcia on the Governor’s Award webpage. (See our blog on Jody’s story here: )

We’ve been hip to Jody’s many talents for years and are proud to have her a part of our family of Native American guest designers. In fact, hot off the polishing wheel is a stunning cuff inspired by her iconic “critter” design that appears on her pottery. The cuff will debut on QVC in September!

Tewa pottery by Jody Naranjo


Catching up with Jody

When we caught up with Jody, who is busy not only preparing to receive this prestigious award but for her booth #WAW402 at the Santa Fe Indian Market this is what she had to say.

American West Jewelry:  What does it mean to you to receive this amazing award at this time in your life and career?

Jody Naranjo: It is a huge honor! It’s definitely not something you think will happen to you. I’m just so fortunate that my little designs have made people happy!

AWJ:  Who are some of the women who have helped you become the person you are today?

JN: My family is about 80% women. Pottery and other art forms are very dominant in our culture and history. I grew up surrounded by these talented artists and couldn’t help but be inspired by them.

AWJ: For many young people out there in the creative world, the thought of being a working artist is a dream come true. What advice do you have for people, especially women, who are aspiring artists?

JN: I have 3 daughters and have always told them to pick a career that they will love. If you enjoy it you will never be bored or get tired of it. It’s a lot of work to be a full-time artist. Take advantage of all opportunities that come your way. Always keep challenging yourself to make new and evolving designs and try new mediums.

Jody Naranjo's daughters

From all of us at American West Jewelry ~Thank You!

UngelbahDavilaAmericanWest (1).jpg

Ungelbah Davila is an American West Jewelry blog author, lifestyle photographer and social media contributor. She is Navajo of the ‘Áshįįhi Clan, as well as a native New Mexican of Spanish, Irish, and Sephardic ancestry. Her name, which in English means a woman who has been to war and lived to fight again, was passed to her from her maternal great-grandmother and is a source of personal power that influences the unique narrative she brings to her many art forms.

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