Preeminent potter Nancy Youngblood was born into Santa Clara pottery royalty in 1953. Her mother was Mela Youngblood, an exceptional potter, her grandmother was legendary Margaret Tafoya, her great grandmother was Sarafina Tafoya. In fact, Nancy is perhaps an eighth-generation Santa Clara potter. The tradition continues with sons Sergio, Joel, and Chris, also potters. Nancy has been the recipient of hundreds of prestigious pueblo pottery awards, including Best of Pottery at Santa Fe's Indian Market as recently as 2015 and Best of Show in 1989. Best of Pottery, Best of Class? Nancy is a perennial favorite to win each year.
Nancy would be the first to express gratitude to those great family potters who inspired and taught her and to the methodological and stylistic legacy that she carries forward to this day. This includes strict adherence to family pottery traditions such as using local clays, coil construction, stone polishing to perfection, traditional wood and manure outdoor firing as well as tackling and perfecting difficult styles such as deeply carved and stone polished vessels. She somehow accomplishes near perfection even in her stunning miniatures; elevating even those, perhaps her most humble works, to the level of high art. Just recently her son Chris, an accomplished potter in his own right, was in the gallery looking at one of his mom's miniatures and just shook his head in pride and admiration.
Her designs include deeply carved straight ribs (among her most challenging forms) and s-curves (with as many as 64 narrow and perfect ribs on some special pieces), shells, and horses. Lately she has begun to incorporate mica into some pieces, as she remains an ever adventuresome, seemingly tireless and creative artist. Nancy's work is found in multiple prestigious and private collections including the Smithsonian.
Over the years, and especially on the occasions when I've acquired a significant Nancy jar, I've heard admiring collectors remark: "Well, I've always wanted a Nancy Youngblood pot, but they are beyond my reach," or words to that effect. In fact, Nancy began her career 43 years ago making miniatures and gained immediate fame with the elegance and artistry of those works. And so, of course, just recently, she has begun to create a new generation of true miniature masterworks, all 3" by 3" or under. This return to her own personal pottery roots will culminate in an exciting and important show of her newest minis, her first ever miniatures show. We can anticipate classic Nancy forms (ribs and swirls and shells) and sometimes exciting new experimental and abstract pieces. So back to the wish: "I've always wanted a Nancy pot, but..."; each Nancy mini will be unique and to her usual highest artistic standards and accessible to the many——not just the few; if we are lucky enough to get there in time!
Nancy has been the recipient of hundreds of prestigious pueblo pottery awards, including Best of Pottery at Santa Fe's Indian Market as recently as 2015 and Best of Show in 1989. Best of Pottery, Best of Class? Nancy is a perennial favorite to win each year.