Joe Aguilar married Rosalie Aguilar in 1922. Together they had 11 children. Joe painted most of their pieces of pottery as well as those of his mother, Susana Aguilar. After Rosalie's death in 1946, Joe continued to make pottery on his own with distinctive shapes and polychrome painted designs.
Joe and his wife were neighbors of noted San Ildefonso matriarch Rose Gonzales, and they learned the fundamentals of traditional pottery making from her. Joe would carve pots for his wife Rosalie, then sand the edges of the carved areas to create a "cameo" effect.
Joe also painted pottery for his mother, Suzanna Martinez Aguilar. Kenneth Milton Chapman, the author of 'The Pottery of San Ildefonso,' listed Joe Aguilar as among 15 potters at San Ildefonso who painted pottery before 1940. Joe’s son, Alfred Aguilar, said that his dad formed pots as well as painted them. If so, he would have been among the earliest males to do so.