Lilly V. Sanchez was born in Duckwater, Nevada, in 1923 and was raised in a traditional Native American, Western Shoshone family, helping her mother and grandmother gather willows for baskets. After her children were grown, Sanchez reawakened the basket making skills she learned as a child. For more than thirty years she has been creating beautiful cradleboards, winnowing trays, cone baskets, and other traditional forms in willow.
Sanchez has been featured in a number of books, exhibits, films, and television programs. She has been a master in the Nevada Arts Council's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program teaching her daughter and others. Sanchez is also a storyteller, singer, and spiritual leader of her people, and a frequent speaker and performer at Nevada Native American gatherings. She received a Governor's Arts Award in 1997.