American Indians •  Antiques and Collectibles and Art

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Dialogues with Zuni Potters

Milford Nahohai
Elisa Phelps
Photographs by Dale Anderson

The Zuni Indians of western New Mexico have been making beautiful pottery for over a century. In this intimate and personal book fourteen contemporary Zuni potters tell us in their own words about the traditions and techniques of their craft--how they collect and handle clay, how they fire and decorate pots, and how they learn, develop, teach, and adapt their art. Some of these potters have learned in the traditional way from their mothers, but many have also taken advantage of modern mobility and education to learn at school and by visiting museum collections of pueblo pottery. Their work and their lives combine tradition and innovation.

Pottery is a traditional female art among the pueblos, but five of the potters included in this book are men. One potter uses an electric kiln at home but travels to workshops in the midwest with sheep manure so that she can demonstrate traditional firing techniques. All of them are as generous in sharing their stories in this book as they are in working cooperatively to develop their craft.


James Ostler established the Pueblo of Zuni Arts and Crafts enterprise.

Published By Zuni A:shiwi Publishing

8 x 11 in. 102 pages 69 color plates., 50 halftones