Fannie Elsie Begay was born on August 26th, 1942 in Indian Wells, Arizona - a small community in Navajo Country near the Painted Desert. Her parents, Lucy and Freddie Morris, welcomed Fannie as their second child and daughter. Ten children were born after her! Her mother was an accomplished Navajo rug weaver, and she wove a wide variety of styles. Fannie’s father worked on the railroad. He rode horseback to work, and as it was a long ride, he was given another horse to ride home on.
Fannie’s family lived in a small hogan (traditional Navajo home) and later moved to a house as they of course needed more room with 12 children. Both homes did not have electricity or running water. They spent most of their waking hours tending to the sheep, horses, and cattle. The close family all worked together. Fannie did weave in her earlier years, but she found the weaving took so long, she decided to instead start making “cluster” and petit point turquoise jewelry. Her brother, Henry Morris, inspired her in the art of jewelry making. Henry fondly calls her the “Cluster Queen”! Fannie’s beautiful jewelry is traditional and timeless.
Fannie and her late husband raised seven children together. To make ends meet, Fannie worked in the school cafeteria in addition to making jewelry. All of their children are now adults and doing well. Fannie is the dearest and kindest woman that loves her family, her jewelry, and her Navajo heritage.