Jody Naranjo

pottery, bronze sculpture, textiles

"Being surrounded by a distinguished family of accomplished artists and educators is both inspiring as well as challenging. Jody Naranjos grandmother, mother, and aunts are world-renowned potters from a pueblo known for its potters. They certainly motivate her, but to stand out, one must constantly challenge ones own ideas and "strive to do ones very very best," Naranjo says. "I change the …

"Being surrounded by a distinguished family of accomplished artists and educators is both inspiring as well as challenging. Jody Naranjos grandmother, mother, and aunts are world-renowned potters from a pueblo known for its potters. They certainly motivate her, but to stand out, one must constantly challenge ones own ideas and "strive to do ones very very best," Naranjo says. "I change the traditional colors of black and red in the firing. I prefer brown and the mid-range colors. I also play with shapes-squares and asymmetrical forms. One of my distinctive traits is sgraffito [etching] over the entire pot. And I try not to take myself too seriously...I use a lot more humor than most potters."

At 15, Naranjo was under the portal at the Palace of the Governors on the Plaza in Santa Fe selling her own pots. After everyone else had given up, she would endure bitter snow and cold as passersby marveled that such a young girl could produce such beautiful pieces. By 19, she was selling directly to gallery owners who recognized her outstanding talent. Two years later she won an award with her first entry in the Santa Fe Indian Market competition with a pot called "My brother deer-danced, so I gave feast."

Though her techniques are traditional, Naranjos designs, shapes, and colors are modern. Many of her pots tell stories, many are decorated with children. Her two young daughters are already picking up and playing with clay much to Naranjos pleasure. Even in their pre-teens she sees the familiar trait of carrying on the legacy of a great pottery family. Her grandmother is in her eighties and still making pottery, and Naranjo hopes to be like her."

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