Nampeyo and Her Pottery
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Hopi-Tewa potter Nampeyo revitalized Hopi pottery by creating a contemporary style inspired by prehistoric ceramics. Nampeyo (ca. 1860-1942) made clay pots at a time when her people had begun using manufactured vessels, and her skill helped convert pottery-making from a utilitarian process to an art form. The only potter known by name from that era, her work was unsigned and widely collected. Travel brochures on the Southwest featured her work, and in 1905 and 1907 she was a potter in residence at Grand Canyon National Park's Hopi House. This first biography of the influential artist is a meticulously researched account of Nampeyo's life and times. Barbara Kramer draws on historical documents and comments by family members not only to reconstruct Nampeyo's life but also to create a composite description of her pottery-making process, from gathering clay through coiling, painting, and firing. The book also depicts changes brought about on the Hopi reservation by outsiders and the response of American society to Native American arts.
"A richly researched and gripping story . . . The warmth and attention to detail that makes the text so engaging is underpinned with scholar's tools a chapter on the 'Stylistic Analysis of the Vessels,' a genealogy chart, outstanding maps and drawings by James Kramer. . . . Whether you're interest in Southwestern pottery is casual or more informed, Nampeyo and Her Pottery is a book to read for the pleasure of their companyNampeyo and Barbara Kramer." The New Mexican"A portrait that is vividly sensitive to the real life and artistry of Nampeyo." Book News"Nampeyo emerges here as representative of the enduring values and lifeways of a culture and as an icon of that culture's ability to sustain and renew itself in the face of historical, economic, and political change. . . . Those interested in the nature of [her artistic] vision and its achievements will find a wealth of material here. . . . For general readers and scholars alike, the most powerful impression left by the book may well be that of Nampeyo herselfnot so much as a personality whose inner life we experience, for written and oral records do not offer us that, but as a fixed yet ever-brightening star in a changing cultural universe." Native Peoples"Essential for anyone studying Hopi pottery in general and Nampeyo in particular." Midwest Book Review