Lucy Leuppe McKelvey, Diné - Navajo Nation Potter

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Lucy Leuppe McKelvey (Navajo Nation) signature

Award winning Diné artist Lucy McKelvey Lucy first learned to make pottery around 1973 as a college student, working with ceramic clay and firing her pieces in an electric kiln. As she learned more about the history of both Navajo and Hopi-Tewa pottery, she began to use only traditional methods-utilizing only native clays and pigments and firing her pieces in outdoor oak fired kilns. Today, her complex designs, influenced by Navajo sand paintings, are executed in natural pigments made from hematite, beeplant and various clays.

Lucy Leupp McKelvey (1950-) Sand Girl was raised by her great-grandparents and other older relatives near Sheep Springs, Arizona. In the 8th grade she moved to Gallup, New Mexico, to live with her mother and attend high school. She received a degree in education from Brigham Young University and taught for many years on the Navajo Reservation.

The recipient of numerous awards, McKelvey has taught her three daughters the skills of pottery making. On her personal website, she gives the following artist statement:  

“I am mostly a self-taught potter who has spent the last 44 years trying to make the art of Navajo pottery evolve up into a fine art form that goes beyond tradition but still uses traditional native materials and methods. I am known for making very large, polychrome pots in a great variety of shapes that are painted with almost outrageous detail.  Most of my work tells a story and contains design elements from the ancients, ceremonial sandpaintings, baskets, and rugs that have been stylized by my own imagination and inspiration.”

Relative Links: Navajo ReservationpotteryHopi