Artist Melanie Yazzie

Collecting Things

As seen in her interview, artist Melanie Yazzie is never at a loss for ideas because she collects objects and images for a wall of inspiration in her studio. 

In my home studio space, I collect a lot of sort of knick-knacks from different places, and I’m really inspired by antiques, different really special objects and the collecting of those objects and special things. And, when I’m at a point where I’m not sure how to move forward, I look at the inspiration wall…I look at those objects in my home.” - Melanie Yazzie

Does this quote spark a lesson idea for your classroom?

  • How can you and your students collect and display things or ideas for inspiration?
  • How can building a collection lead to comparison and critical thinking in your classroom?

Melanie Yazzie explains how she organizes her studio space to facilitate her process of "painting like a printmaker."

Related Resources

  • Yazzie Collaborating with Visitors in New Studio
    Blog: Behind the Scenes

    Yazzie Collaborating with Visitors in New Studio

    This summer, the Denver Art Museum welcomed Melanie Yazzie, the native arts department's first artist-in-residence. The artist-in-residence program brings renowned American artists to the Denver Art Museum and utilizes a new studio space in the American Indian art galleries on level three of the North Building. The revitalized studio and Yazzie’s residency are made possible by a grant from the Americana Foundation.


  • Photograph of artist Carlos Frésquez with his artwork in the background.
    Lesson Spark

    The Magic of Discovery

    Carlos Frésquez is a local artist who participated in the Cuatro[4] series of installations. Find out how he was inspired early on to make art. 

    Carlos Frésquez, exploring identity and place through his work, remembers his first experiences with art. His kindergarten teacher made art magical and let him discover color mixing.

  • Collage made of colorful images on paper
    Art Exploration


    In this self-guided exploration, young children will make artists' choices about which shapes, colors, and placement to use. 
    • Collect scraps of colorful paper (tissue paper, patterned paper, cardstock, computer paper) and place them in a basket in an art area. Encourage children to tear or cut pieces in various sizes.
  • DAM Artist-in-Residence Linda Aguilar Knows Basket making
    Blog: Meet the Artist

    DAM Artist-in-Residence Linda Aguilar Knows Basket making

    Linda Aguilar is not a typical basket maker. Her horsehair baskets combine traditional Chumash Indian basketry techniques with non-traditional materials. Think bingo chips, beads and sequins, and even bits and pieces of credit cards. Actually, nothing about Linda is typical. Not the way she learned to weave, her teaching style, or her apple pie—all of which are extraordinary. More

  • Blanket/Rug with bright red, white, and blue patterns in various shapes
    Art Exploration

    Weaving with Various Materials

    Young children make creative choices while practicing fine motor skills of weaving and threading using various materials, also exposing them to textures and creative elements.

    Provide an 8x10 piece of felt that has slits one inch a part almost the entire width of the piece. Leave a one inch space around the entire felt piece as a border.

    Provide various material choices to weave in and out of the slits.