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Thomas Polacca was a son of noted potter Fannie Nampeyo and a grandson of Nampeyo of Hano. Along with Wallace Youvella (the husband of his sister Iris), Thomas was one of the first Hopi men to be being both making and designing pottery in the 1970s. Wallace and Thomas told the story that they first tried making pottery with "traditional" designs but there was resistance from the women so they began to create a new style of Hopi pottery, with carved designs, much in the same manner as Hopi Katsinas. Thomas received wide acclaim for his pottery over the years and his work is in numerous museums such as the Heard, the Denver Art Museum and others.