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Artist Bios

Naomi Eckleberry

Pueblo or tribe affiliation: Santa Clara
Birthdate: 01/16/1960
Parents: Mary Eckleberry
Artist was taught by: Mother
Type of work: Traditional Santa Clara pots
Awards: "We don't enter many shows."
Number of years in the trade: 12
Favorite part of work: "Designing the pottery is my favorite part of my work."
Signs work as: Naomi Eckleberry, Santa Clara

Denise Chavarria

Pueblo or tribe affiliation: Santa Clara
Birthdate: 12/04/1959
Parents: Loretto and Stella Chavarria
Artist was taught by: Mother
Type of work: Traditional Black and Red
Awards: First, Second and Thirds at Santa Fe Indian Market
Number of years in the trade: 16
Favorite part of work: "Building and polishing the pottery."
Signs work as: Denise Chavarria, Santa Clara

Stella Chavarria

Pueblo or tribe affiliation: Santa Clara
Birthdate: 1/23/1939
Parents: Jose and Teresita Naranjo
Artist was taught by: Self-taught
Type of work: Traditional Black and Red
Awards: Third Place at Santa Fe Indian Market
Number of years in the trade: 37
Favorite part of work: "I like carving the best."
Signs work as: Stella Chavarria, Santa Clara

Roberta Naranjo

Pueblo or tribe affiliation: Santa Clara Pueblo
Birthdate: 09/20/1946
Parents: Jose and Nicolasa Naranjo
Artist was taught by: Mother
Type of work: Black on black pottery
Number of years in the trade: 25
Favorite part of work: "I like to polish the best."
Signs work as: Roberta, Santa Clara

Joy Navasie

Pueblo or tribe affiliation: Tewa/Hopi
Birthdate: 01/03/1916
Parents: Mary and Albert Naha
Artist was taught by: Mother
Type of work: Pottery
Awards: Various awards--Santa Fe, Arizona, Gallup, 8 Northern
Number of years in the trade: 63
Favorite part of work: "She loves molding a piece, painting it, firing it and selling it."
Signs work as: "frog"; before 1940 "flower"

Starr Tafoya

Pueblo or tribe affiliation: Santa Clara
Birthdate: 08/06/1951
Parents: Henry and Jane Baca
Artist was taught by: Mother and self-taught
Type of work: Traditional Pottery
Awards: "I've won First, Second and Third place ribbons at Santa Fe Indian Market and Eight Northern Pueblo Shows."
Number of years in the trade: 22
Favorite part of work: "Carving the pottery is my favorite part of the work."
Signs work as: Starr, or Jane and Starr

Clark Tenakhongva

Pueblo or tribe affiliation: Hopi
Information: Although the making of the Hopi figures commonly (but incorrectly) called "kachina dolls" has been widely borrowed by other tribes, Hopi claimants and non-Native Americans alike, these works are truly authentic only if they are traditional Hopi-handmade. As the general public grows more aware of the important distinction between traditional and non-traditional Native American craft, one name is emergent as a new leader in the Hopi traditionalist movement of "kachina" art: Clark Tenakhongva. Represented in important museum collections and galleries, this award winning artist's work is also found in homes and offices of discerning private collectors nationwide--each work bearing Tenakhongva's trademark Rabbit Clan signature.

Clark's all-consuming concern for promoting accuracy and the traditional ways of making his figures extends to his selective use of the word "kachina" and an aversion to the incorrect usage by many of the word "dolls" to describe the works. "Kachinas are the living spirits themselves," he points out, "and the term 'kachina dolls' actually has no meaning. More accurately, what I made is called 'ti-hu' (tee'hoo)." The ti-hu figures are traditionally given primarily to young girls at special times in their lives. This probably gave rise to the term "kachina dolls" but, in truth, they are neither.

The ti-hu is a representation, but it is also a spirit...a life. Because of this, Clark Tenakhongva reverently makes each ti-hu the way his grandfather taught him. Each is fashioned in the traditional likeness of the kachina it honors and, because it possesses a life of its own, it is not to be burned with a woodworking hot-pen nor poisoned with synthetic paints or linseed oil. Rather, it is lovingly hand carved only from the root of the cottonwood tree and colored only with natural pigments mined from, picked from and found on Hopi land. Even the tiniest cottonwood root bits and chips left over from the carving are carefully gathered and returned to the Earth. Never are they just "thrown away"!
Awards: 199t Best of Show - The Hopi Show -Second Mesa, AZ
1994 Best of Division - Traditional Carvings - Museum of Northern AZ - Flagstaff, AZ
1994 Best of Division - Santa Fe Indian Market - Santa Fe, NM
1994 First Place - Heard Museum Indian Market - Phoenix, AZ

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