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Jewelry Conversation with Norbert Peshlakai

11/04/2022 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


The Wheelwright Museum presents Jewelry Conversations as part of its 85th Anniversary program series. We are excited to feature famed Navajo jeweler Norbert Peshlakai.

This conversation will be hosted by Ken Williams Jr. (Northern Arapaho/Cattaraugus Seneca)

Champagne Reception at 4:00 P.M.

The conversation starts at 4:30 P.M.

Purchase Tickets (Click Here)

Limited Seating: 50

Tickets: $20



Norbert Peshlakai is a fourth-generation silversmith. He was born in Ft. Defiance, Arizona around 1953. He was educated on the Navajo reservation through the eighth grade. He attended high school in Albuquerque, where he took a number of art classes and achieved prominence as a cross-country runner. After graduation, he enrolled at Haskell Junior College for Native Americans in Kansas.

Norbert is credited with having created a new form: miniature silver pots and jars shaped like pottery. He says he learned basic traditional silversmith techniques and wanted to do something different so, beginning in 1977, he started making bowls in different shapes and forms. It is with his small pots that Norbert has really transformed traditional stamp work into modern and then he textures the surface and applies designs with various dies and stamps he creates himself. He has developed miniature stamps and dies that he also uses to create patterns or figures on his jewelry. He might use six or seven stamps to form a single motif. To accomplish these techniques, Norbert has customized basic tools into specialized instruments, turning concrete masonry nails into handmade stamps and reshaping and grinding hammers for his purposes.

Later, he went back to jewelry and began experimenting with various methods, using sandpaper, emery paper, and steel wool for texture. He achieves other textural effects by hitting the silver on rocks, hammering, and using needle files.

Norbert says of his work, “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.”

Join us for this conversation with Norbert Peshlakai as he discusses his work.


4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Wheelwright Library
704 Camino Lejo
Santa Fe, 87505
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(505) 982-4636


Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
(505) 982-4636
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