Phoenix Jewelry Designer Nanibaa Beck: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives

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Kate Crowley
Nanibaa Beck wears Notabove earrings from a collaboration with Jeff Slim.
Phoenix is brimming with creativity. And every other year, we put the spotlight on 100 of the city's creative forces. Leading up to the release of this year's Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome to the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today: 94. Nanibaa Beck.

For Phoenix jewelry designer Nanibaa Beck, talk is anything but cheap.

Native American languages are at the heart of her line, Notabove, which includes necklaces emblazoned with such Navajo words as ahééh (gratitude) and hózhó (balance). "The idea for the signature Notabove necklace was born out of wanting something unique and representative of the many Native languages still spoken today," says the 32-year-old designer and co-founder of Native style blog Presence 4.0. "I also wanted to create a simple yet affordable line for my family and friends to enjoy."

See also: 100 Phoenix Creatives: Jeff Slim

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Courtesy of Nanibaa Beck
According to Beck, yáadiláh loosely translates to "oh, boy" or "aw, man."

Her jewelry line (which launched an earring collaboration with artist Jeff Slim last year), blogging endeavors, and an upcoming conference presentation all revolve around one central aspect: the topic of selling or marketing Native made items. And she's found no shortage of inspiration. "Most recently, I've been enjoying the idea of 'traditional as innovative,'" she says. "The idea of Native jewelry has a usually historic and static connotation to the early 1900s, when in actuality, it has a beautifully vibrant presence today."

I came to Phoenix with wide eyes, hairspray for my bangs, and a longing for northern Arizona's cooler weather. My family moved to Phoenix on the hottest day of the year in 1993.

I make art because sharing and creating are constants.

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Courtesy of Nanibaa Beck
A closeup of one of Beck's necklaces.
I'm most productive when working toward decisions about how I want to be presented and how that has the potential to guide me, along with other collaborators, to a different level of appreciation. It's a positive mindset, overall.

My inspiration wall is full of photographs, mementos, postcards, letters, prints, and stencils from some of my favorite people. It's surrounded by framed prints from my parents: Lee Marmon, "White Man's Moccasins," my uncle Clifford Beck's print, a Bahe Whitethorne Sr. print, and a signed piece from 1980. It says, "To Victor Beck, a friend." It's an actual wall of inspiration.

I've learned most from and continue to learn from a genuine and honest group of artists, family, and friends. They are my K'é.

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See the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives:

100. Bill Dambrova

99. Niki Blaker

98. Jeff Slim

97. Beth May

96. Doug Bell

95. Daniel Langhans

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