Leonard Nez

Leonard Nez
Leonard Nez
Bull Riding award buckle - Leonard Nez
Bull Riding award buckle - Leonard Nez
Perry Null Trading:

I know you are originally from Arizona and your wife is from New Mexico. Being from opposite ends of the Reservation how did you meet?

Leonard Nez:

We met through my sister. At first we became good friends, and then a couple of years later we married.

Perry Null Trading:

Do you have a big family?

Leonard Nez:

We have four children, two boys and two girls. The boys are the oldest, the oldest being 30 years old. They have a framing company and stay busy doing construction work. The girls the youngest, our baby is 13 years old. Our oldest daughter is a Pre-School Director for the Eastern Navajo Agency.

Perry Null Trading:

So none of the children are following your footsteps by making jewelry?

Leonard Nez:

No, they all have their careers and are happy doing what they do.

Perry Null Trading:

When did you first get into making jewelry?

Leonard Nez:

My wife introduced me to jewelry. She was the one who taught me how to silversmith. Before that I did other types of work.

Perry Null Trading:

What other types of work?

Leonard Nez:

I worked for the cable company in Albuquerque laying cable for televisions. That job I had for six years, they moved me to Phoenix. Then they wanted to move me to Oregon, but knew that I couldn’t take my children that far away. After that I operated heavy equipment for about 5 years.

Perry Null Trading:

What are the benefits of being in business for your self?

Leonard Nez:

When I was 13 years old my late Uncle, James Begay Sr., taught me how to team rope. I couldn’t do this when I was working these other jobs because I would have to work on the weekends. Now I can do my team roping and make jewelry.

Perry Null Trading:

Are you the header or healer?

Leonard Nez:

I am a healer. My fastest time is 5.3 seconds. I have a 13 year old quarter horse named Slash, and he is a good one. It also allows me to make trophy buckles for competitions, like the one I have on. I made this for a guy who never paid me, so I wear it. Traded a buckle with my cousin Gibson Nez for some stones once.

Perry Null Trading:

Where you a big athlete in high school?

Leonard Nez:

I played basketball, football, baseball, and wrestled at Holbrook High School. In wrestling I went undefeated until the last match in the state final.

Perry Null Trading:

You said that your wife taught you silversmithing. Where did your style come from?

Leonard Nez:

When I first started making jewelry I made traditional style pieces. About seven years ago I started making more contemporary pieces. I combine both traditional designs with contemporary designs, this is how I wanted to make my jewelry.

Perry Null Trading:

This design is very striking. Have your pieces done well in shows?

Leonard Nez:

Yes, I have won best of show awards and show my jewelry in correspondence with the Indian Market. I get a good response from customers and am always staying busy.