Emerging Artisan, 2017-18 Cohort (Basket Maker)
Ya’at’aah shik’ee doo shidine’é. Shi éí Farrah Mailboy yinishyé
Hello! My name is Farrah Mailboy, I am the Water Flow together clan born for the Red Bottom Clan, my maternal grandparents are the Big Water People Clan and my paternal grandparents are the Salt People Clan. I was raised in Lukachukai, Arizona and continue to make my home there. I am a part of the 2017-2018 Navajo Cultural Arts Certificate Program. My emphasis in the program was Navajo Basketry. I joined the Navajo Cultural Arts Program so that I can give back to my students and youth across our Navajo Nation. As a Psychology major and educator, I would like to utilize Navajo Cultural Arts of a form of Art Therapy.
Before I joined the Certificate Program - I was kinda a NCAP weekend workshop junkie. The first workshop that I attended with NCAP was a two-day sash belt weaving workshop. I picked up sash belt weaving faster than I thought. So, I decided to try another workshop, which was silversmithing with Lyndon Tsosie. That workshop went pretty well as well. Then, I signed up for moccasin making with one of my fellow NCAP classmates Brent Toadlena. It was a little tougher than I had expected but it didn't turn me off to the Certification program. That’s when I decided to get an application and complete it.
So far, I am AMAZED at the amount of work, time and effort that goes into weaving a Navajo Basket. WOW! It amazes me what can be created from a single sumac stick. The struggle was REAL attending classes every Saturday with Thomas! Ayyyye! JK! I have learned so much from our instructor Thomas Yellowhair. Thomas shared with us the significance of Navajo Basketry. Learning to pick sumac and splitting sumac over and over and over and over as a real pain! OMG! I still haven’t mastered that skill. However, the smell of wet sumac is so delicious! Slowly but surely, I am still completing my first Navajo Basket.
Every one of us have a different mentality and I have learned for myself that I have to have a clear mindset. I want to put to put nothing but positive vibes into my basket. If I didn’t have that mindset then the “awl” was very difficult to use or the Sumac sticks didn’t want to bend a certain way. Navajo Basketry has taught me a lot about patience and therapeutic for myself.
I honestly cannot thank Dine College Navajo Cultural Arts Program for the amazing opportunity to be a part of this cohort. I am not an “artsy” person and I never been to any sort of Museum that have to do with cultural arts. Within this year, I got to visit The Heard Museum and the Museum of Northern Arizona. I have been exposed to another world, that I want to take my students along to visit and appreciate the importance of Navajo Cultural Arts. Thank You!