Helen Cordero was a daughter of Caroline Quintana and a sister of Trinidad Herrera. Her son George was also a potter as well as her granddaughter Buffy Cordero.
Helen married Fred Cordero, an artist, drum-maker, and governor of Cochiti Pueblo. Helen began creating pottery birds and animals that her husband painted. Then Helen began creating the storyteller figures in 1964 as a way to honor her grandfather, Santiago Quintana.
Helen won numerous awards for her pottery and was featured in over 25 issues of American Indian Art Magazine and on the cover of National Geographic magazine.
Her Storyteller design became popular with other pottery-makers, who have created variations, including animal storytellers. To distinguish her work and to fulfill the expectations of some collectors, Helen began signing her works. After the success of the Storyteller, Helen eventually drew more from her experiences and went on to develop other types including, drummers, singing mothers, Pueblo father, and Hopi maiden.
Helen was honored as a Santa Fe Living Treasure in May of 1985; she was made an NEA National Heritage Fellow in 1986.
Helen Cordero Primary School, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is named after her.
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