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Jemez Pueblo Potters

ALVINA YEPA (1954--), Jemez Pueblo, has been winning awards for her pottery since she was only 25 and she won First and Best in Division at Indian Market (1987) for sgraffito pottery. One of her signature styles, Sgraftito is the technique of carving designs into fired pottery using very sharp tools, such as dental picks, and requires enormous patience and skill. Her other award-winning style is the melon jar, a deeply incised symmetrical pattern that gives the pot the appearance of gently swirling. She polishes by stone until the pot is smooth, painstaking work that can take hours to achieve the high-gloss finish.

From the time she was 8, Alvina was painting and polishing the pottery of her mother, Nonche, whose name means pottery. Soon Alvina was hand building her own pottery, and her unique styles were winning awards at all the major shows including Indian Market, Eight Northern Pueblos Show, Heard Museum Show and Inter-tribal Ceremonial.

She is also one of our favorites at Tanner Chaney. We have known Alvina for thirty years and she always has a huge smile and open arms when she comes to visit. Maybe it is because she was born to the Sun Clan, but when she walks into the store she brings sunshine with her.

In the Pueblo way, art and life are inseparable. Incorporated into her work are those motifs significant to her beliefs. Elaborately carved designs of eagle feathers, kiva steps, butterflies and sacred corn grace her pottery with symbols of life, transformation, and blessings.