What Inspires Me: Nona Yehia

Founding partner at E/Ye Designs

Nona yehia

Founding partner at E/Ye Designs

By Dina Mishev ∙ Portrait by David Agnello


Architect Nona Yehia likes working “on as many different scales as possible at once.” This spring, the range of scales the forty-five-year-old tackles is especially evident. The Town of Jackson is installing garbage cans, tree grates, and bike racks designed by Yehia’s firm. Also, Vertical Harvest, a three-story, 13,500-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse in the heart of downtown that has been her “labor of love” for the last six years, opens. “I love to explore design at every scale and understand that there are principles that you can apply to all of them,” says Yehia, who is also the chairwoman of the board for KHOL, the valley’s community radio station.

Yehia and her husband, attorney Mark Sullivan, moved to the valley from New York City with their young son in 2003. Wyatt is now fifteen, and younger sister Lucy is eleven. “Mark has loved Jackson Hole since he was eleven,” Yehia says. “The first time he took me over Togwotee Pass—I’ll never forget that moment—it left an indelible impression, and I fell in love with this place instantly. Every time we’d visit, I’d drive around pretending we lived here. Now that we do, I know that the community is every bit as inspiring as the landscape.” Here, in her own words, are some other things that inspire Yehia’s diverse body of work.


Normally, I’m strictly a savory person and don’t like sweet stuff at all. But the way Persephone’s Kouign-Amann is made—intricate layer after layer of croissant dough—reminds me of a sculpture. They are so surprising as a pastry structure, and perfectly balance the sweet and savory. $3.75, 145 E. Broadway, 307/200-6709, persephonebakery.com


The scale of Abbie Miller’s large-scale sculptures is almost confusing. They have to exist in large spaces. They’re larger-than-life experiments. They are the scale of a landscape, but when you go in, their scale is that of really beautiful clothing. They exist at the intersection of structure and skin, and each gives you a vastly different reading. They’re very organic. It’s like Miller has taken the topology of the mountains and abstracted it in her own craft. You can get lost in them in terms of landscape just like you can get lost in the mountains here. abbiemillerstudio.squarespace.com


Food is very important to me and what you serve it in is very important as well. I have a lot of Jill Zeidler’s pottery in my house. Filling her pieces with food just makes me very happy. Jill makes a series of things, but every piece is unique because of the process it went through. Her work is subtle and quiet, but through its making it has real beauty. Sue Fleming carries her work at Workshop. From $32, 180 E. Deloney, 307/733-5520, jillzeidler.com

Photograph by Ed Riddell
Photograph by Edward Riddell

Mayme Kratz was part of an exhibition at the Art Association [of Jackson Hole], and I was totally taken with her work. I love repetitive elements that differ slightly. Friends here have a piece of hers of seedpods that are slides and then put in resin (shown above). Look at it quickly and they all look the same. But if you take the time to really see it, you notice small differences in each seedpod, and you get this beautiful field. I could spend days within this field noticing subtle differences. The structure of things is what inspires me most about nature. Take a field of grass; each grass has its own form, and together they create a beautiful picture. The individual is beautiful, but the whole is stunning. maymekratz.com


I love having intimate, unexpected experiences, and few things here are as intimate and unexpected as concerts at the Pink Garter. You get a taste of the big city, but in this personal space. There is nothing like a live show—seeing musicians who are pushing the boundaries of music right in front of you. Even when I try to hang back, I usually end up in the front row. It’s amazing to be able to watch someone’s creative process like that. Music is prevalent in my life, but I’m not good at it. But the process of creating, there are so many parallel applications to that. Some of the most inspirational nights I have had in town have been concerts at the Pink Garter. I abstract what musicians are doing and why, and that drives me in my own work. 50 W. Broadway, 307/733-1500, pinkgartertheatre.com

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