Nancy Youngblood, Santa Clara Pueblo Potter
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Santa Clara Pueblo artist Nancy Youngblood fires each piece of pottery in the traditional way using an open pit that resembles that of a campfire. Early on, she would fire outside, being vulnerable to wind and rain, elements that dictate how successful a firing will be. To overcome this hazard, Youngblood designed and built her own enclosed firing house at the pueblo making weather concerns minimal, yet still keeping with tradition.
After preparing, polishing and carving a piece—which could take from 50 to 300 hours—in this final process there is always the chance that the item will crack and sometimes explode in the fire. There are no gauges to use in determining when a pot is ready to remove from the firing process.
Nancy Youngblood (1955- ) Yellow Aspen is the granddaughter of Margaret Tafoya and daughter of Mela Youngblood. She is a master crafts person and certainly one of the most famous younger potters of today. Nancy is known for her patience in making the most precise and perfect pottery. She spares no effort in producing the perfect pot.
As a child, her military father gave the family a cosmopolitan background by traveling through Europe and living in The Netherlands. At age 12, she returned to the pueblo where she began to watch her grandmother's work. This was her primary tutorial in what was to become her calling—traditional Santa Clara Pueblo Pottery—but of the highest quality.
Youngblood has received several hundred awards for her pottery at all the major venues where artist compete. Her pottery has been exhibited in major galleries and museums and she has been published in books and articles. She often signs her pots as Nancy Youngblood Cutler.
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