Helen Naha

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Helen Naha
Helen Naha in her home decorating a pot in her Awatovi Star pattern
Helen Naha in her home decorating a pot in her Awatovi Star pattern
Born 1922
Died 1993
Nationality American
Ethnicity Hopi
Occupation Pottery
Feather design jar

Helen Naha (1922–1993) was the matriarch in a family of well known Hopi potters.

She was the daughter-in-law of Paqua Naha (the first Frog Woman). Helen was married to Paqua’s son Archie. She was mostly self-taught, following the style of her mother-in-law and sister-in-law Joy Navasie (second Frog Woman). Her designs are often based on fragments found at the Awatovi ruins near Hopi. Her hallmark style was finely polished, hand-coiled pottery finished in white slip with black and red decorations. She would often take the extra step to polish the inside of a piece as well as the outside.

She signed her pottery with a feather glyph (shown in inset). This resulted in her being called “Feather Woman” by many collectors. Both of her daughters, Sylvia and Rainy (Rainell), as well as her granddaughter Tyra Naha are well known potters. Today, her medium to larger pots typically sell for several thousand dollars. She has been recognized by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts for her body of work through the creation of the Helen Naha Memorial Award - For Excellence in Traditional Hopi Pottery.

Naha was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[1]

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References[edit]

  • Dillingham, Rick. Fourteen Families in Pueblo Pottery. Foreword by J. J. Brody. University of New Mexico Press, (reprint edition) 1994. ISBN 0-8263-1499-6
  • Graves, Laura. Thomas Varker Keam, Indian Trader. University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8061-3013-X
  • Pecina, Ron. Hopi Kachinas: History, Legends, and Art. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2013. ISBN 978-0-7643-4429-9 Pp. 163-166.
  • Schaaf, Gregory. Hopi-Tewa Pottery, 500 Artist Biographies. Edited by Richard M. Howard, CIAC Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico, ISBN 0-9666948-0-5

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