Helen Cordero

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Helen Cordero
Helen Cordero standing by an adobe building in 1986
Helen Cordero, 1986
Born (1915-06-15)June 15, 1915
Died July 24, 1994(1994-07-24) (aged 79)[1]
Nationality American
Ethnicity Cochiti Pueblo
Occupation Traditional potter
Known for Storyteller pottery figurines
Spouse(s) George Cordero
Children Antonita "Toni" Cordero Suina, Dolores Peshlakai, Jimmy Cordero, George Cordero, Leonard Trujillo
Parents Quintana and Coroline Quintana-Pecos
Relatives Grandchildren, Tim Cordero, Buffy Cordero Kevin Peshlakai, Tia Cordero, Kevin Peshlakai, Ivan Trujillo, Evon Trujillo, Robert Trujillo, Jeanette Trujillo, Del Trancosa; son-in-law Del Trancosa, foster daughters-in-law Kathy Trujillo and Mary Trujillo
Awards Santa Fe Living Treasure, 1985; National Heritage Fellow, 1986

Helen Cordero (June 15, 1915–July 24, 1994) was a Cochiti Pueblo potter from Cochiti, New Mexico. She was renowned for her storyteller pottery figurines, a motif she invented,[2]based upon the traditional "singing mother" motif.

She was a lifelong resident of Cochiti Pueblo. She "followed a traditional way of life including digging her own clay and preparing her own pigments."[3] After 1964, her family members joined her in making Storyteller figurines.[4]

She would

"work outdoors in warm weather and at her kitchen table in the winter. Her husband and son drove one hundred miles to bring home the cedar wood she used to fire her pieces ... on an open iron grate behind her house."[5]

Alexander Girard supported her by purchasing her early work.[6]

Helen Cordero was honored as a Santa Fe Living Treasure in 1985.[5] In 1986 she was made a National Heritage Fellow.[7]

Helen Cordero Primary School, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is named after her.[8]


  1. ^ "Helen Cordero: Death Record from the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)". GenealogyBank. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  2. ^ Smith, Jack (30 March 2005). "OLD AND NEW; The History Is Here, but the Action Is Elsewhere". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ "Helen Cordero - Artist, Fine Art, Auction Records, Prices, Biography for Helen Cordero". Ask Art, the Artist's Bluebook. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  4. ^ "Antonita Cordero Suina (b. 1948 - )". Adobe Gallery, Santa Fe. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  5. ^ a b "Cordero, Helen". Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  6. ^ "Helen Cordero, Cochiti Pueblo". Adobe Gallery, Santa Fe. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  7. ^ Helen Cordero biography at nea.gov
  8. ^ "Helen Cordero Primary School". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Babcock, Barbara A.; Monthan, Guy and Monthan, Doris Born (1986). The Pueblo Storyteller: Development of a figurative ceramic tradition. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 978-0-8165-0870-9. 
  • Howard, Nancy Shroyer (1995). Helen Cordero and the Storytellers of Cochiti People. Worcester, Massachusetts: Davis Publications. ISBN 978-0-87192-295-3. 

External links[edit]