Navajo Moccasin Maker, Potter Shares Art Forms with Visitors | Williams-Grand Canyon News

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GRAND CANYON, Ariz. – On June 30 and July 1, Navajo moccasin maker Bill Thomas and Navajo potter Damon Tso shared their art forms with visitors to the Desert View Watchtower on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park .

Thomas was born in Many Farms, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation and has lived there his entire life. He started making moccasins about ten years ago, thanks to an introduction to the trade by his uncle.

The art of moccasin making was passed down through his family, starting with his maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather who tanned and dyed the skins by hand. Thomas said one of his favorite things about demonstrating his craft is the wide variety of interesting people he meets.

Tso grew up in an area of ​​New Mexico called Buffalo Springs.

He was originally inspired to become a sculptor, but was instead influenced towards pottery by a ceramics teacher. He loves working with clay and decided to devote his energy to creating pots, which he has been doing now for 18 years.

Tso originally used commercial clay, but switched to the traditional method of harvesting clay from the earth himself. He also bakes his pots in the traditional way, using wood as a heat source instead of an oven.

The Cultural Demonstration Program offers visitors the opportunity to interact with tribal artisans from the Grand Canyon’s traditionally associated tribes and share their history, knowledge and skills, according to Grand Canyon National Park.

Information provided by the NPS

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