Born in 1977 and raised in San Filipe Pueblo, New Mexico, Isaiah began helping his father Raymond Twinhorse, an accomplished silversmith, at the age of 13. Working for his dad started as a ‘chore’ doing repetitive inlay work and sanding pieces by hand. After his high-school graduation, Isaiah decided to take the teachings and instruction he gained from his father and create his own style of jewelry. Beginning with simple cross pendants, Ortiz would decorate them with simple linear lines, eventually experimenting by adding adjacent angles and ‘x’ designs. It was a turning point in his creative process when he applied these concepts to heavy gauge triangular wire, allowing him to create depth of feel and express an intellectual surrealism. This mysteriously energetic aesthetic is what he is known for, and artistically fuels unlimited creativity and continual conceptual renewal. Fabricating his hand forged geometrically dominated designs with saw-work and carving techniques, Isaiah creates on 0-1 gauge silver and it can take him up to 16 hours to craft a single heavy bracelet.
Isaiah extracts his inspiration from the cultural significance associated with life on the pueblo, through exquisite designs on traditional pottery and abstract symbolism from nature. With pride he states, “my family are descendants of the Anasazi that originated from southern Colorado. I am an active participant in cultural dances and activities that happen year-round in my tribe. I have lived my whole life in San Felipe learning history and traditions still passed on today.”
As he has expanded his designs to include various colorful precious gemstones and exotic materials in intricate inlays, he often studies what he likes to call his father’s “Book of Secrets” – a compilation of notes, ideas, and revelations Raymond Twinhorse recorded while he was making jewelry – and Isaiah returns it only after he has mastered a new technique. As a dynamic contemporary artist in today’s world eager to experiment with any and all possibilities, Isaiah Ortiz remains connected to his past and respects that all knowledge comes from those that experimented before him, and the world speaking to him.