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Wind River Pottery Artist Bios: Q - Z

 Marilyn Ray

Marilyn Ray, Acoma sculptor

Marilyn Ray was born in 1954 into the Acoma Pueblo. She began experimenting with clay at the age of 12 after observing her grandmother, the late Dolores S. Sanchez, work with her clay. At 18, Marilyn had mastered all the fundamentals of her craft, and is now renowned as one of her generations greatest storyteller makers. Her storytellers are some of the largest, most complex and innovative sculptures of this style available.

Other than her storytellers, Marilyn specializes in sculptures of small children, nativities, animals, and friendship bowls. She gathers her clay and other natural pigments from within the Acoma Pueblo. The colors used on her sculptures are also provided from plants and minerals.

Marilyn combines her skills in both traditional pottery making and figurative work. She signs her sculptures as: Marilyn Ray, Acoma, N.M. followed by a hand drawn lizard. She is related to: Rebecca Lucario, Judy Lewis, Diane Lewis, Carolyn Concho (sisters), Katherine Lewis (mother), and Sharon Bernard-Lewis (sister-in-law).

Norman Red Star

Norman Red Star, potter

Norman Red Star (Lakota Sioux) was born in 1955. He was inspired to continue the long lived tradition of pottery by his Uncle, the famous potter Elmer Red Starr, from Santa Clara Pueblo who has been producing pottery with sgraffito designs since before 1976.

Norman began working with art at the age of 16. He started out with crafting bead work, and at the age of 24 he began hand-carving sculptures on stone. At the age of 26, he began painting, and at the age of 40 he began crafting pottery.
Norman specialized in hand-crafting the traditional Santa Clara pottery with sgraffito etchings. He got his ideas from hunting and Mother Nature herself. He etched animal legends on this pottery, and accented his pottery with turquoise stones.

Norman Red Star has passed away, but he will live on in the beautiful creations he brought to this world. 

Dee Setalla

Dee J. Setalla was born and raised in Snowbird Canyon Arizona, and is a member of the Hopi-Tewa Bear Clan. Dee began experimenting with pottery at the age of 6, learning from his Mother, Pauline Setalla, and his Aunt, Eunice "Fawn" Navasie, both well known Hopi potters. They taught him all the fundamentals of pottery making the traditional way.

Dee specializes in handmade traditional Hopi pottery. He gathers all his materials from within the Hopi Reservation. Dee paints traditional designs of birds, moths, butterflies, bear claws, clouds, and rain on his work. Natural pigments found within the Hopi Reservation also provide the colors used on his pottery. Dee uses the walpi polychrome yellow and beige with blushes, characteristic of Hopi pottery. Dee signs his pottery as: D.S., Hopi, followed by a bear paw symbol to denote his Clan origin. 

Noreen Simplicio

Noreen started her career in pottery by making mud pies and mud pots. Her first class in pottery-making was in 1977 at Zuni High School. After leaving high school, Noreen met an Acoma woman by the name of Angelina Medina. She inspired Noreen to further develop her skills and venture into the increasingly competitive world of Pueblo pottery.

Noreen's unique pottery forms are characterized by distinctive designs that combine traditional Zuni pottery symbols with contemporary design elements of her own creation. She uses fine lines, birds and animal symbols. The scenes depicted on her work often stress the universal harmony that should be maintained among all living things.

She specializes in miniatures, bowls, seed bowls with lizards and vases, as well as pottery sculptured with scenes of ancient pueblo dwellings that are fully detailed with tiny figures of Pueblo inhabitants. She is a well-recognized and reputable artist and has been the recipient of numerous rewards for her art.

Lori Smith

Lori Smith was born near Gallup, NM, and began developing her craft when she was 13, in 1994. Learning by watching rather than being directly taught, she would practice her craft in secret. Soon, Lori felt she could take the art of etching pottery to another level.

Lori's process begins with an unfired pot which becomes a canvas for her designs. After drying for a day, the red or white pot is then sanded, painted, underglazed, etched and, finally, fired. Some pots are then finished with gold leaf or cabochons of turquoise, coral, onyx and /or opal. Lori likes to think her pots contain the triple gifts of Beauty, Harmony, and Balance - essential values in the Navajo concept of hozho. 

Dena Suina

Dena Suina was born in 1961 into the San Felipe Pueblo. Dena married into the Pueblo of Cochiti in the 1980s. She sparked an interest in sculpting clay figures while observing her mother-in-law, Louise Suina, hand coil and hand paint her beautiful clay sculptures. Louise taught Dena all the fundamentals of how to hand coil all types of sculptures using traditional methods.

Dena specializes in handmade and hand painted contemporary storytellers. Her sculptures are all hand coiled, hand pinched, and hand painted. She makes a wide variety of sizes and adds very intricate detail to her clay sculptures. Dena has established herself as a fine artisan and continues to amaze collectors with her intricate efforts. She signs her pottery as: Dena M. Suina, Cochiti/San Felipe Pueblo, N.M.

Gwen Tafoya

Gwen Tafoya, Potter

Gwen Tafoya was born in 1965 into the Santa Clara Pueblo-Tewa. She began experimenting with pottery making at the age of 6 - starting with hand-coiling small bowls and pots, using traditional methods. Gwen's mother, Mary Agnes Tafoya taught Gwen all the fundamentals of hand coiling traditional Santa Clara Pottery.

Gwen specializes in hand coiling the traditional Santa Clara pottery, carved and etched by her. She gathers her natural pigments from within the hills of the Santa Clara Pueblo. Gwen especially likes to make seed pots because she has more room to etch her favorite designs of hummingbirds or flowers on the top of the pottery. Gwen also has a special part in her heart for the wedding vase because of its meaning.

Gwen signs her pottery as “Gwen Tafoya SCP”. She is related to the following artists: Angela Baca (aunt), Madeline Naranjo (aunt), Belen Tapia (aunt),Tina Garcia, Greg Garcia, Virgie Garcia, and Paul Speckled Rock (cousins).

Margaret Tafoya

Margaret was born in 1904 and started making pottery in 1920. She is considered one of the matriarchs of the Pueblo pottery revival, and is known for her fine incised red and black ware as well as her large bear paw vases.

She is the daughter of Hose Geronimo and Sarafina Tafoya, and the wife of Alcario Tafoya. Today her creations are recognized world-wide for their sublime beauty and expert artisanry. Those few pieces that remain command top dollar in the collector's market.

Thomas L. Tenorio

Thomas Tenrio, Tewa potter

Thomas L. Tenorio was born into the Pueblo of Kewa (Santo Domingo) in 1963. Thomas felt that traditional pottery making was dying within his Pueblo, and was inspired to try and resurrect this long-lived legacy.

Thomas is a self-taught potter who learned by reading textbooks, conducting interviews, and by trial and error. Thomas gathers most of his natural pigments within his reservation or outside of it- and he cleans, hand mixes, hand coils, and shapes and fires his pottery outdoors in the traditional way.

Thomas has created his own unique contemporary flair of cut-out or carving and has added new colors to the traditional Santo Domingo style. He makes a wide variety of shapes and sizes and paints birds, flowers, fish, and traditional designs. 

Damian Toya

Damian Toya was born into the Pueblo of the Jemez in 1971. Damian is the son of Maxine Toya, one of the finest Jemez potters of our time. Maxine was the inspiration behind his interest in learning to work with clay, which he has been doing with since the age of 5.

Damian specializes in handmade Melon Swirl Pots. He gathers his materials (natural pigments) for his masterpieces from the grounds within the Jemez Pueblo. He cleans, mixes, hand coils, shapes, sands, fires outdoors, and polishes his own pottery.

He was quoted as saying “All the pots that I create are my favorite, because each one is a part of me.” He signs is art as: Damian Toya, Jemez, followed by the corn sign to denote his clan origin. Damian is related to: Laura Gachupin (Aunt), Marie G. Romero (Grandmother), the late Persingula M. Gachupin (Great Grandmother), and his sister Camille Toya. Damian is a member of the Corn Clan.

Katherine Victorino

Katherine Victorino, Acoma potter

Katherine Victorino hails from the Acoma pueblo in New Mexico. She started learning the craft of pottery at age 9, learning from her stepmother Beverly Garcia. Her work includes black and white lightning designs and Tularosa (prehistoric) designs.

Katherine also paints in the 'old designs' in various olla shaped bowls. Such patterns include the sunflower, lightning, butterfly, feather, star fan, zig-zag, flower, and other traditional patterns.  

Sandra Victorino

Sandra Victorino, Acoma potter


Sandra Victorino was born in 1958 into the Pueblo of the Acoma. She was inspired to learn the art of hand coiling pottery from admiring her famous Aunt, Dorothy Torivio, who is one of Acoma’s finest potter’s still alive today.

Sandra specializes in hand coiled pottery with spiral designs like the step-to-step, checker board, snowflake, half-snowflake, and fine line designs. She will also paint Kokopelli on her pottery from time to time. Sandra signs her pottery as: Sandra Victorino, Acoma, NM.

Sandra is related to the following artists: Edna Chino (mother), Brian Chino (brother), Greg Victorino (brother-in-law), and the famous Dorothy Torivio (aunt).

Pottery Artists

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