My name is Ida Sahmie, I’m a member of the Navajo Tribe, residing in Keams Canyon, AZ. Originally born and raised in Pine Springs, AZ. My husband of 30 years; Andrew L. Sahmie Sr. and I have three wonderful children; Andrea D. Larios, Andrew L. Sahmie Jr. and Donnelly Sahmie II; and also four beautiful grandchildren.
With my husband being a member of the Hopi/Tewa Tribe, we made the decision of a lifetime, to move out hereto the Hopi Reservation, in 1978. With many of my husbands’ relatives making potteries, I had an interest to try it myself And one summer day, the opportunity came when curiosity got the best of me. I tried it and started experimenting with small pieces, before long I had my pieces done and ready for my first sale, to a local trader, by the name of Bruce McGee, who in return encouraged me to keep working, so he gave me an order, said he liked the idea of the cultural combination in design and in the making of the pot itself. From that day, to present day I have been very busy and a never ending job. But my greatest inspiration and backbone to my success in my loving husband. Who’s been there for me since day one, thru trial and error, good and bad, always ready with anything I may need, from getting clay to firing and also giving me advice. He’s a well know kachina doll carver himself, but puts his work aside to help me and I love him very much.
It wasn’t very long after my first sale that I started receiving orders for my pottery, from collectors, galleries, museums near and far. Some even asked me to enter my pieces into shows here and there. I eventually did, I entered some pieces into the Navajo Show in Flagstaff, AZ, and the Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock, AZ, where I received 1st and 2nd place ribbons, Best in Division Award and Best in Show Award. It was an experience for me then and now and I enjoy meeting the new owners of my pottery and making new friends in the art world, a place where I never thought I’d be.
In the mid 1980’s a friend of mine and curator for the Navajo Nation Museum; Russell Hartman asked me, if he could include me in a book, that he was going to publish on Navajo Potters called “Traditions and Innovations”. I agreed, and it really gave my pottery business a boost at the time. Since then I’ve been featured in the Arizona Highways, The Focus, Cowboys and Indians, Southwest Art, and New Mexico Magazine. Plus books such as the Fourteen Families, the Enduring Traditions, the Treasures of the Navajo Folk Art. Addition to the books and magazines, I’ve been to the Santa Fe Indian Market,The Heard Museum, The Fountain Hills Show, The Tucson Art Show and many private shows/lectures.
What makes me and my pottery “unique” that my potteries are traditional Hopi Style oiled and fired, but the designs painted on are all “Navajo” such as; the Night/Day Yei-bi·chai scene, the Geometric Yei’s, the Sand painting, the Rug designs. I’d like my tags to be labeled as “Navajo”.