"Nampeyo, The Potter"

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  • Nampeyo
    The Potter
    Iris Nampeyo (1860?Ė1942)

    was a Hopi potter who lived on the Hopi Reservation in present-day Arizona. She received the English name Iris as an infant, but was better known by her Tewa name, Num-pa-yu, meaning "snake that does not bite".

    She was born at Hano Pueblo, which is primarily made up of descendants of the Tewa tribe who fled west to Hopi lands after the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680. Her mother, Ootca-ka-o was Tewa; her father Qots-vema, from nearby Walpi Pueblo, was Hopi.

    Hopi people make ceramics painted with beautiful designs, and Nampeyo was eventually considered one of the finest Hopi potters. Nampeyo learned pottery making through the efforts of her paternal grandmother. In the 1870s, she made a steady income by selling her work at a local trading post operated by Thomas Keam. She became increasingly interested in ancient pottery form and design, recognizing them as superior to Hopi pottery produced at the time. Her second husband, Lesou (or Lesso) was employed by the archaeologist J. Walter Fewkes at the excavation of the prehistoric ruin of SikyŠtki in the 1890s. Lesou helped Nampeyo find shards showing the old forms and Fewkes produced detailed illustrations of reconstructed pots.

    This original acrylic painting is one of an ongoing series of Native American personalities. This series will all be done on 18 X 24 inch canvas as mono-colors in raw umber. Currently all are available and are all for sale.

    The original "Nampeyo" is for sale. $500