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Ethel Shields is a granddaughter of Josephita and Joe Sandoval. She is a daughter of Toribio and Dolores S. Sanchez and a sister of Katherine Lewis. She is the mother of eight children, including Charmae Natseway, Judy Shields, and Verda Mae Shields. She began making pottery in 1938 when she learned from her mother. She was known for her figurative pottery as well as traditional Acoma vessels. While she no longer makes pottery, her work remains a classic.