Elva Nampeyo

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Elva Nampeyo
Born 1926 (1926)
Died 1985 (1986)
Nationality American
Known for Pottery

Elva Nampeyo (1926–1985) (also known as Elva Tewaguna) was an American studio potter. She was born in the Corn Clan house where her grandmother Nampeyo resided, atop Hopi First Mesa. She was the daughter of Fannie Nampeyo and Vinton Polacca. As a child Elva would watch her grandmother make pottery and play with the clay. When she was eleven years old her mother began teaching her to make pottery.

Elva became an expert at decorating and painting pottery. Her husband, Richard Tewaguna, never became involved in her pottery making. 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. Elva took great pleasure in making pottery and could form as many as eight pots a day. During her later years when she was no longer able to finish her work, her daughter Adelle would polish, decorate and fire the pottery for her. Elva signed her pottery as "Elva Nampeyo" followed by the corn clan symbol which was initiated by her mother Fannie.

Elva had five children of which four are potters including Neva, Elton, Miriam and Adelle. All sign their work with their first names followed by "Nampeyo" and an ear of corn. She died in 1985.

References[edit]

  • Blair, Mary Ellen; Blair, Laurence R. (1999). The Legacy of a Master Potter: Nampeyo and Her Descendants. Tucson: Treasure Chest Books. ISBN 1887896066. OCLC 41666705. 
  • Schaaf, Gregory - Hopi-Tewa Pottery: 500 Artist Biographies. 1998.

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