Artist: Norbert Peshlakai
July 20 2016
Norbert Peshlakai (b. 1953; Fort Defiance, Az) is a fourth-generation Navajo silversmith. He was the first generation to gain formal training in jewelrymaking techniques during his 3 1/2 years attended Haskell Junior College in Kansas. From there, Peshlakai returned to his native New Mexico to a life of innovative metalworking.
Peshlakai pioneered new techniques for creating patterns and texture in silver. When He could not find the tool he needed, he would customize tools into specialized instruments, turning concrete masonry nails into handmade stamps and reshaping and grinding hammers to suit his needs. He would also take common items like steel wool to and use them to create texture.
Peshlakai is noted for saying “I like to get a lot of textures going on in the same piece. I like the idea of something looking like it’s beat up all over, sort of bumpy and rough, not a high polished look, but something more unfinished and earthy.”
. Over the years he was won numerous awards, and his work is on display at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.