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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elva Nampeyo
Born1926 (1926)
First Mesa, Arizona
Died1985 (aged 58–59)
Known forPottery
Spouse(s)Richard Tewaguna

Elva Nampeyo (1926–1985) (also known as Elva Tewaguna) was an American studio potter.[1]

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Migration pattern seed pot by Elva Nampeyo, c.1976
Migration pattern seed pot by Elva Nampeyo, c.1976

Elva Nampeyo was born 1926 in the Hopi-Tewa Corn Clan atop Hopi First Mesa, Arizona.[2] Her parents were Fannie Nampeyo and Vinton Polacca.[3] Her grandmother Nampeyo had led a revival of ancient traditional pottery and established a family tradition of pottery making. As a child Elva would watch her grandmother make pottery and later her mother taught Elva and her siblings the craft of pottery making.[2]

Nampayo went on to marry Richard Tewaguna and had five children, four of whom, Neva, Elton, Miriam and Adelle followed in the family pottery making tradition. All sign their work with their first names followed by "Nampeyo" and an ear of corn.[2]

Nampayo became an expert at decorating and painting pottery. She specialized in black and red on yellow bowls and jars with traditional migration designs and eagle motifs. Her pieces most often resembled the works of her mother and grandmother. On occasion she could be persuaded to break from tradition and try some designs of her own invention.[3] Elva took great pleasure in making pottery and could form as many as eight pots a day.[3] During her later years, her daughter Adelle would assist her in polishing, decorating and firing her pottery. Nampeyo signed her pottery as "Elva Nampeyo" followed by the corn clan symbol which was initiated by her mother Fannie.[2]


  1. ^ "Elva Tewaguna Nampeyo (1926–1985)". Southwest Indian Pottery. Adobe Gallery. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Elva Nampeyo, Hopi Pueblo". Southwest Pueblo Indian Pottery. Holmes Museum Of Anthropology. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Blair, Mary Ellen; Blair, Laurence R (1999). The legacy of a master potter: Nampeyo and her descendants. Tucson: Treasure Chest Books. pp. 219–220. ISBN 978-1-887896-06-1. OCLC 41666705.
  • Schaaf, Gregory – Hopi-Tewa Pottery: 500 Artist Biographies. 1998.

External links

This page was last edited on 24 November 2021, at 14:44
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