Visiting Estella Loretto – Famed Native American Sculptor

Estella Loretto and Hummingbird SculptureIn the hills overlooking Santa Fe, you’ll find a very special place. This is the home and studio of Estella Loretto, the only Native American woman working with monumental sculptures.

I first became aware of her work when I encountered the bronze sculpture of a beautiful Indian saint, Kateri Tekakwitha, prominently displayed in front of the St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe. I was drawn to this statue of a serene and beautiful woman, adorned with turquoise jewelry and holding eagle prayer feathers.

Kateri Tekakwitha, is also known as Lily of the Mohawks,  joined the well-known statue of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy in front of Santa Fe’s St. Francis Cathedral in 2002. She is one of the most photographed statues in Santa Fe. Estella Loretto was commissioned to create this beautiful piece. I had always wondered about her creator and recently was privileged to meet with Estella and tour her gallery and sculpture gardens.

Pueblo Roots – International Training
Estella Loretto, from Jemez Pueblo , left New Mexico at the age of 15 and traveled the world studying with artists in Italy, Japan, India, Nepal, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. Although originally trained as a pueblo potter, she excels in monumental and smaller bronze sculptures, most of which depict beautiful, serene Native American women. In addition, she paints, does multi-media works and has developed a line of jewelry.Estella Loretto Studio Her creative talents are diverse but they all reflect her desire for a peaceful, balanced world.

Visiting the Gentle Spirit Gallery
If you visit Estella’s home and studio, you will know exactly what I mean. Estella surrounds herself with beauty and peace. From the wind bells in her garden to the beautiful sculptures in her studio, her art and lifestyle inspires peace and introspection.

Estella Loretto invites art lovers from around the world to visit her home gallery and studio in the foothills of Santa Fe. In addition to creating art, beautiful environments are an expression of her artistic vision and spiritual life.

As a trained Feng Shui practitioner, she weaves together the ways of her Pueblo traditions with the art of creating sacred space.  She can be visited by appointment only. More on visiting  the Gentle Spirit  Gallery and sculpture garden.

Morning PrayersGallery Representation
Estella  Loretto is also represented by Jacqueline’s Place Gallery on Santa Fe’s Canyon Road. The address is: 233 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501. At this gallery are two of her larger sculptures, some small sculptures and examples of her beautiful jewelry.

A Living Treasure
Whenever you get the opportunity to visit an artist in their own environment, their home or studio, don’t let that opportunity pass you by. Estella Loretto, whose work is collected internationally and who has work in the Smithsonian, is one of those living treasures. Art lovers and those interested in the cultures of New Mexico would thoroughly enjoy a visit to Estella’s gallery and the opportunity to get to know her.

More Information
Kateri Tekakwitha
Estella Loretto Website

Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose



  1. Paddy Schwartz says

    Good Morning,
    I have just discovered your amazingly organic and gracious works of art. I thank you for making them for the world and look forward to finding you at Indian Market this year to meet someone who must have such a beautiful soul.