Meet Johanna Francisco

My name is Lynette Johanna Francisco. I am Navajo and part Comanche.

Today I am working on the quills; the quill work and the quill earring’s. That is my passion, and I do all sorts of stuff. Bead work, image work whatever you can think of.

I design images in Photoshop, and then I create little tiny things like these. People order these and bead around them. So, these images I create, I put them on the mat there and add liquid resin. People buy them and bead around them.

Well, I have Lupus. It has really limited my mobility. I used to be a lab tech. I worked at Quest Diagnostics for about 13 years. It just got so hard. I could not function right, and I couldn’t keep my focus. So, my doctor suggested I take some time off, get myself back to working order. And then I just thought, ‘work is so stressful.’ This is what I want to do. This is what will start to heal me. So, I met a man. He taught me that quill work is healing. You know, talk to the quill, touch the quill, and it will heal you. So, I started doing this and it has…cleared my mind.

Everything is handmade including…I make everything. Everything comes from the wire. And that’s where I start. Every little detail, every little binding, is handmade. I make it all myself.

When I touch the quill and I start to work with it, I just go with whatever comes. I started this, and I’m kind of getting some ideas. It just goes where it want to go. Where I don’t really have a set design and go with that design. I just kind of go with whatever comes when I’m working.

My mom used to be a silversmith. She made beautiful jewelry. She earrings, squash blossoms, necklaces, rings, anything, and then she sowed, everything. So, I’ve always been around it. Just recently about a year, maybe two years ago, I took it up to keep my mind occupied. And it just grew from there, grew from there, grew from there.

People wanted to buy them. I had earrings everywhere. I didn’t know what to do with them. So I started posting them on Facebook and asking people…and it just went crazy, people just bought and bought and bought!

It lead to bead work. My aunt actually taught me how to bead because she said it calms you down keeps you clear. So I started that and that just went crazy again. It lead to the images, and now that’s where I am, I do a little bit of everything and it helps. Now I don’t work. My work is doing this. It’s actually paid for my car (haha.) and it was surprising. It’s surprising every day that people want it so much. I don’t have but maybe 2-3 hours to myself a day because I’m constantly working all the time. I tell myself that, “You need to take some time off, you need the weekend!” but no, I’m always on the phone. But it’s amazing. I love it.