Artist Statement

“To be able to create beauty with my hands is a gift; it is an honor for me to be an artist. My art is inspired by nature, and the beauty of life’s unfolding. My art is stylized, colorful, and contemporary, rooted in but not confined by my cultural traditions.

I see the making of art as a process that entails a sincere and beautiful way of communicating with the Great Spirit.

I like the freedom of creative expression without boundaries and limitations, yet achieving art that is serene, balanced, harmonious, and graceful.”

— Estella Loretto

“My personal experience of her is this: sacred expression is her way of life. In her art, in her friendships, in her family life, she is expressing spirit. To know her is to be inspired… It is as though Spirit is saying, yes, here is an avenue for inspiring all to a higher, more beautiful and sacred way. My highest hope is that ever more souls will come to experience her sacred gifts. I, for one, am ever grateful.” — Carl Schuman, artist


Download Estella’s biography here

Estella Loretto is currently the only Native American woman working in monumental bronze sculpting. She is recognized internationally as one of the finest sculptors living today. Estella’s genuine spiritual nature defines her commitment to integrity and authenticity in her art and in her life.

She has studied and trained with mentors including her mother, her grandmother, and most notably with Native American sculptor Allen Houser-Haozous. She was his last student before his death in 1994.

Estella left her native New Mexican home at the Pueblo of Jemez at age 15 and traveled the world for eight years studying with remarkable artists in Italy, Japan, India, Nepal, Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia.

Estella’s work has always reflected her highly internalized spiritual vision of the world, an intimate legacy of her Pueblo background that is manifested in her artistic creations as well as her home which is a sanctuary of beauty.

Workshops & Guest Appearances

2018 Private Cermony. Installation and Blessing for the Land at Forked Lightning Ranch for Scott and Kimberly Shiffeild.
2018 Hosted a private show and reception for the SAR Board of Directors and the president circle, School of American Research, Santa Fe, NM.
2010 Hosted Senior Ministry “Treasures of Wisdom” and presented a talk in honor of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Sponsored by Saint Francis Basilica and Christo Rey Church, Santa Fe, NM
2010 First Presbyterian Church, Albuquerque, NM – Guest Speaker for a presentation about the monmuental sculpture, “Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha”
2009 Hosted a group from Shumei International Institute, Santa Fe, NM “Sharing Art & Spiritualty” at the Estella Loretto Fine Art / Gentle Spirit Gallery & Sculpture Garden
2008 Contemporary Pueblo Women Artists: Inspiration and the Creative Process: Estelle Loretto (Jemez), Tammy Garcia (Santa Clara), and Nora Naranjo-Morse (Santa Clara), Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in conjunction Timeless Beauty: Pueblo Women Artists of the 20th Century
2007-06 Elder Hostel, hosted various groups at Gentle Spirit Studio, Santa Fe, NM
1999 Home & Garden Magazine Worshop, Gentle Spirit Studio, Santa Fe, NM
1997-98 Las Campañas de Santa Fe – Guest Artist
1998 I.A.I.A. Board of Trustees, Santa Fe, NM – Guest Speaker
1993 National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Albuquerque, NM Artist and Presenter of the “Hope Award”
1992 National Conference on Indian Education, Albuquerque, NM Guest Panelist, “Breaking the Barriers”.
1992 University of NM Native American Studies Program – Guest Speaker, “Leading Native American Women Role Models”.
1992 National Conference on Ceramic Education, Mesa, AZ Guest Artist and Panelist

Professional Exhibitions

2014 – 2017 Courage and Compassion: Native Women Sculpting Women, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, NM
2014 – 2015 Footprints: The Inspiration and Influence of Allan Houser, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, NM
2010 Walatowa Red Rocks Arts & Crafts Show, Red Rocks, Jemez Pueblo
2010 Native Treasures Art Show, Santa Fe Community Convention Center, Santa Fe, NM
2010 Heard Museum Guild Art Show, Heard Museum, Phoenix AZ, March 2010
2009 Private Indian Market Show at Estella Loretto Fine Art Gallery & Studio, Santa Fe, NM
2008 Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM 1981 – 2008
2009 “Heart Song” Estella Loretto Fine Art Gallery & Studio, Feb. 13, 2009
2009 “Native Treasures” Art Show Sweeney Convention Center, Santa Fe, NM May 2009
2008 “Shaping Our Stories”, Walatowa Sculptors Exhibition, AIPCC Museum Sept.
2008 – January 2009
2007 Walatowa Art Show, May 2007 Jemez Pueblo – featured invited artist
2006 Port of San Diego Sculpture Show – National Invitational Show
2007-1999 Gentle Spirit Gallery Annual Show, Santa Fe, NM
2007-1999 Santa Fe Indian Market, Santa Fe, NM
2007-1999 Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
2001 Native American Music Awards, art placed for stage setting, Sandia Casino, Albuquerque, NM
1999 Summer Solstice w/ “The Morning Prayer” Gentle Spirit Studio, Santa Fe, NM
1998 The “Re-Awakening of the Inner Healing” Gentle Spirit Studio, Santa Fe, NM
1996-98 Masters of Indian Art Cast Iron Gallery, New York, NY
1995 Spirit of the Pueblo People, Honolulu, HI
1995 First State Bank of Santa Fe, Feature Artist, Santa Fe, NM
1993 Allan Houser Sculpture Park 1st Annual Monumental Sculpture Exhibition: Signals in Sculpture, IAIA Museum, Santa Fe, NM
1993 First Peoples Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota “From the Earth We Form” #1
1991 Opened Gentle Spirit Gallery Santa Fe, NM
1991 Gertrude Zachery Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
1990 Turquoise Tortoise, Sedona, AZ
1989 Toh-ah-tin Gallery, Durango, CO
1988 Earth, Hands, Life Special Exhibition, Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
1987 Charles Russel Museum, Great Falls, MT
1987 Women of Spirit and Creativity, Seattle, WA
1987 Museum of Native American Cultures, Spokane, WA, Honored with “The Most Distinguished Artists” Award
1986 Museum of Native American Cultures, Spokane, WA. Guest of Honor “Western Artists of the Northwest
1985 The Evelyn Siegal Gallery, Fort Worth, TX, “Enchanted Images of the Southwest”
1984 The 18th Street Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, “Art of the Contemporary Southwest”
1984 The Sacred Circle Gallery, Seattle, WA, American Indian Ceramic Art: “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”
1981 Fenn Galleries, Santa Fe, NM (major exhibition as main participant for Indian Market, 1981)
1981 The Squash Blossom, Highland Park, Illinois
1981 The Turtle Museum, Niagra Falls, New York, The Native American Center for the Living Arts (invited as one of three major artists for premiere showing of “American Indian Artists of the 80’s”)
1980 Susan Brown Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ American Women in the Arts”
1980 The Fenn Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1980 All Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Museum, Albuquerque, NM
1978 Emabashi Gallery, Osaka, Japan


2005 – 2007 Certified in Advanced Feng Shui with Louis Audet, Santa Fe, NM
1996 Personal Apprenticeship w/ Jewelry Design & Casting with Ray Tracey
1991-94 Solo Apprenticeship w/Master Sculptor Allan Houser
1994 Printmaking w/ Master Painter/Artist Frank Howell
1994 Monoprintig Rick Jimenez Cerro Graphics, Los Lunas, NM
1992-1994 Exclusive Apprenticeship with Allan Houser – Monumental Sculpture, Alan Houser Studio, Santa Fe, NM
1989 Women’s Expression in Clay Teaching Workshop, Sprague, Washington
1987 Ralph Esposito – Experimenting With Raku Spokane Art School, Spokane, Washington
1985 Personal Studies in fine art, Rome, Venice and Florence, Italy
1984 Print making & embossing, Issaquah, Washington Master Printer – Arlene Mickelsen
1982 Studies in the South Pacific Islands – Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand, Austalia; music – dance – woodcarving; personal and cultural studies
1981 Raku Workshop “Discovering the Spirit of Clay” with Robert Piepenburg – Bodhi Mandala, Jemez Springs
1978-1980 Apprenticeship in Jemez Pueblo with Albenita Loretto (mother) and other masters of traditional pottery techniques. “From these masters, I have learned how to distinguish the clay substances of the earth; different clay colors, making natural dyes and glazes and traditional firing techniques.”
1978 Oomotoo School of Traditional Japanese Art, Kameoka, Japan, Intensive study in Traditional Japanese Art; Noh Tea Ceremony, Pottery, Sumi-e, Martial Arts, Music, Fellowship Awarded by the Royal Family of Iran, Prince Sharam Palavia Nia
1978 Tekisui Museum of Traditional Japanese Pottery, Ashiya, Japan, Fellowship, Tekisui Museum, Ashiya, Japan
1975 B.A., Social Sciences and Ethnic Art Studies, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
1974 Foreign Study Grant, All Indian Pueblo Council, India and Nepal. Studies in Indian and Nepalese ceremonial art. Cultural studies in the social and religious structures
1973 University of Benito Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico Studies of the Spanish Language and regional art. Exchange student living in local villages, experiencing and being a part of their natural life styles
1972 American Field Service Scholarship, Antwerp & Brugge, Belgium A.F.S. Cultural Exchange Student
1970-1972 The Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe, NM

Private & Corporate Collections

Dee Maloof Collection
Sabra Minkus Collection
First Lady Laura Bush
Randy Travis
Senator Pete Dominici
Governor Bill Richardson
Senator Bill Nighthorse
R.C. Gorman
Usebelli Coalmines, Alaska
Dennis Langley, Kansas City Pipeline
Arrigo Construction, Pueblo CO
President Ronald Reagon Collection

Public Collections

All Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM
Sacred Power Corporation, Albuquerque, NM
Sandia Casino Resort, Bernalillo, NM
Santa Fe Indian School, Santa Fe, NM
Northern NM Community College, Santa Fe, NM
New Campus IAIA, Santa Fe, NM
St. Francis Basilica, Santa Fe, NM
State Capital Art Foundation, State Capital Rotunda, Santa Fe, NM
Albuquerque Museum. Albuquerque, NM
All Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Museum. Albuquerque, NM
Institute of American Indian Arts Museum. Santa Fe, NM
First State Bank, Santa Fe, NM
The Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Tekesui Museum of Pottery, Ashiya, Japan
Turtle Center Museum, Niagara Falls, New York
Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO

Awards & Fellowships

2009 SBA Native American Success Stories
2009 Best of Santa Fe Award, 35 years of Business Excellence, USCA (U.S. Commerce Association)
2001 School of American Research, King Fellowship for Sculpture
1991 Kingston’s National Registry of Who’s Who In Art
1986 Museum of Native American Cultures Spokane, Washington, Honored with “The Most Distinguished Artists” Award
1980 Outstanding America Indian Artist
1978 Fellowship Awarded by the Royal Family of Iran, the Prince Sharam Palavia Nia
1978, The Tekisui Museum of Traditional Japanese Pottery, Ashiya, Japan Fellowship from the Tekisui Museum, Ashiya, Japan