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Nancy YoungbloodNancy Youngblood

Nancy Youngblood, 2018. King Galleries | Santa Fe

  Nancy Youngblood is a daughter of Mela Youngblood and a granddaughter of Margaret Tafoya.  She was inspired to begin making the swirl melon bowls when she saw one made by her great-uncle Camilio Tafoya.  Each piece is coil built, carved, stone polished and native fired.  Nancy is focused both on the artistry of her pottery but also on the traditions of Santa Clara Pueblo and her family. When Nancy Youngblood first began making pottery, she started with miniatures, focusing on creating very intricate form and tightly carved designs.  Her melon ribbed vessels are among her best-known forms.  There are a variety of styles, including straight ribs, swirl ribs and "s" swirl ribs.  Each variation required different techniques.  Nancy also creates "free form" designs, which allow her to use the melon rib concept of abstract designs. In 1989 she won "Best of Show" at Santa Fe Indian Market. The was a testament to the quality and integrity of her pottery art.  As well, it was ten years earlier that Margaret Tafoya, her grandmother, also won "Best of Show". Today, Nancy Youngblood continues this amazing legacy.  Her sons, Christopher, Sergio, and Joseph, have all worked with the clay.  It is important to her that each of them learns the techniques and cultural importance of the clay.  Nancy's pottery can be found in museums worldwide.  She has also been featured in numerous books including, "Crafted to Perfection", "Born of Fire" and "The Art of Clay".  Most recently she won "Best of Pottery" at the 2015 Santa Fe Indian Market for a large jar with melon ribs and a horse design.  Stunning!

Showing all 14 results

Youngblood, Nancy – Jar with 32 Feathers and Carved Avanyu (1986)

This is a spectacular jar by Nancy Youngblood is from 1986.  While it is small, it is very deeply carved into the clay.  The jar has 32 very, very thinly carved feathers encircling the neck of the piece. It’s amazing how she could even carve into the clay with such small lines!  Below the feathers is a very deeply carved avanyu encircling the jar.  The body of the avanyu swirls around the piece with cloud and rain designs.  The piece is very is highly polished to a stunning shine. It is in perfect condition, with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Nancy Youngblood Cutler”.

$ 3,300.00
Youngblood, Mela, Nathan & Nancy – Wide Bowl with Avanyu (1975)

This is a very unusual carved bowl with a triple signature of Mela Youngblood and her two children, Nathan Youngblood and Nancy Youngblood.  The bowl was made in 1975.   I asked Nathan and he thought this might be the only piece that has all three signature!  The bowl was made by Nathan and finished and polished by Nancy and Mela.  It has a very complex avanyu (water serpent) encircling the piece.  The carving is deep and the piece is highly polished.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Nathan Youngblood, Finished Nancy + Mela Youngblood, March 19, 1975”.  Definitely a classic and historically important bowl by all three of these significant potters!

$ 3,500.00
Youngblood, Nancy – Asymmetric Swirl and Shell Jar with Lid (2018)

This is an extraordinary tall jar by Nancy Youngblood. The shape is one which has become iconic for her pottery and especially the melon ribs.  The straight sides show off all the various designs.  On two of the sections there are shells.  Why shells?  They are often used in Pueblo dances and ceremonies as part of necklaces.  The interesting aspect to them on Nancy’s pottery is that each of the sections is rounded out and polished just like her melon ribs!  The two other sections have various melon swirl designs carved into they clay. They are more “free form” and ebb and flow to create unique shapes.  There are deep ridges and rounded sections.  It is a beautiful flow of design on the jar!  The background area is perfectly sanded and smooth to contrast with the highly polished sections. This is always difficult as the matte areas can cast shadows if they are note smooth.  The lid is also carved with swirls of ribbed designs.  Throughout the entire piece the angles of her carving create a strong surface for the reflection of light.  Nancy said of this style of her work:

“I’ve had problems that if I carve it too thin, it will break. I’ve had that happen so many times. I get to the end and I’m carving the single ribs and it has an air pocket in it. You wet it with slip and then when you touch it, with the first stroke of the stone, the clay falls off. There’s nothing you can do. It’s a loss.”  Nancy Youngblood, Spoken Through Clay

Nancy has won numerous awards, from “Best of Pottery” to “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market for her melon bowls.  This new jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.  This is undoubtedly a contemporary classic of her style!

$ 12,000.00
Youngblood, Nancy – Miniature Kiva Bowl (1975)

While Nancy Youngblood is known for her swirl melon bowls and carved pottery, she started out her career making miniatures.  This miniature is from 1975 which makes it a very early piece of her pottery!  It is a miniature kiva bowl and it is fully polished on the inside and the outside.  The edges of the kiva steps are matte in contrast to the highly polished surface.  Note as well the little holes in the sides of the kiva steps.  On larger pieces the holes would be placed in the kiva bowls so that eagle feathers could be attached.  It is amazing that she was able to replicate this concept in miniature!  The bowl is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Nancy Yellow Aspen ’75”.

$ 900.00
Youngblood, Nancy – Bowl with 20 Carved Feathers (1977)

This is an early carved bowl by Nancy Youngblood.  The bowl is from 1977 when Nancy was just 22 years old!  The shape is a classic bowl and the feathers are carved into the clay.  Note the depth of the carving!  Each feather is symmetric and precise.  The entire piece is very highly polished and fired a deep black.  It is easy to see looking at this bowl the level of talent evident in her early work and how that same precision in carving and polishing is still part of her work today.  In the area below the shoulder, there is also a carved bear paw.  It is a charming addition to the overall design.  The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Nancy Yellow Aspen Youngblood, Dec. 1977”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It comes to us from the collection of Georgia Loloma, the wife of noted jeweler Charles Loloma.

$ 2,000.00
Youngblood, Nancy – 16 Rib “S” Swirl Tall Jar with Lid (2018)

This is an extraordinary larger jar by Nancy Youngblood. The shape is one which has become iconic for her pottery and especially the melon ribs.  The straight sides show off all the curves for the “s” swirl.  Amazingly, there are SIX times the ribs go back and forth on this jar!  These are the wide ribs but are carved at an angle with a sharp edge which creates a strong surface for the reflection of light.  Nancy said of this style of her work:

“I’ve had problems that if I carve it too thin, it will break. I’ve had that happen so many times. I get to the end and I’m carving the single ribs and it has an air pocket in it. You wet it with slip and then when you touch it, with the first stroke of the stone, the clay falls off. There’s nothing you can do. It’s a loss. See here how the S is carved so deeply that the light plays off it so that it almost glows.”  Nancy Youngblood, Spoken Through Clay

Each of the 16 ribs perfectly reflects the light.  Added to the complexity of the jar is the lid.  The ribs not only extend down the side, but over the top and down onto the base of the lid!  There is a kinetic motion to them on this piece which may simply be the play of the light adding to the highly polished surface.  Thee matte area on the top of the lid is perfectly sanded smooth.  This is important so there are no shadows cast from an uneven surface.  In addition to the depth of carving on this jar, consider that each rib has two “sides”to be polished and the surface area of the piece is about double its size!  The lid and jar are signed on the bottom in the clay.    Nancy has won numerous awards, from “Best of Pottery” to “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market for her melon bowls.  This is undoubtedly a classic of her clay art!

$ 12,000.00
Youngblood, Nancy – 32 Rib Mellon (1987)

This is a classic straight ribbed melon bowl by Nancy Youngblood.  The bowl is coil built and each rib is deeply carved into the clay.  The depth of the carving and the symmetry of each rib is exceptional. This is certainly one of the enduring aspects of her incredible artistry.  Each rib is then polished with a stone to achieve the shine.  Although it is a small piece, consider that each rib has two sides and how much surface area there is for this piece!  The ribs are also very deeply carved into the clay and almost come to a point at the edge! Check out the image looking down on the bowl to see the depth and symmetry of this piece.  Nancy says she can only polish three ribs in one sitting as they are so time-consuming.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed, “Nancy Youngblood Cutler” and it is from 1987.  Simply an iconic piece of her pottery!

$ 3,800.00
Youngblood, Nancy – Jar with 32 Feathers, Avanyu & Lid

This is a striking lidded jar by Nancy Youngblood.  The jar is deeply carved with a water serpent around the body of the piece.  Note the delicate swirls and sharp edges carved into the clay to create the body of the avanyu.  Around the neck of the jar are 32 deeply carved feathers.  Each feather and the avanyu are all stone polished to create a stunning shine!  There is a sense of movement in the design as the feathers seems to swirl around the piece. The lid is a loop which is fully polished!  It is reminiscent of some of Nancy’s early work when she would create miniatures with very thin handles!  The lid fits perfectly into the neck of the jar.  The entire piece is traditionally fired to a dark black and it is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 7,500.00
Youngblood, Nancy – Tall Jar with Shells & Shell Lid

Nancy Youngblood creates stunning vessels which combine both matte and polished surfaces. This is an elegant vase with deeply carved sections where she has two different types of shells as the design.   The use of shells in her pottery is reminiscent of the shells worn by the Pueblo Dancers during various ceremonies.  Historically, there are lots of shells found in the Southwest, as they were highly valued and used for trade.  Note how the shells are rounded out like the ribs in her melon bowls!  The surrounding area is matte, which contrast perfectly with the high shine of her stone polished surfaces.  Note how even the matte areas are, as if they are not flat and even they create shadows.  The symmetry of the jar is perfection, with a narrow base and a wide shoulder.  The lid has carved and polished shells on each side and they are fully polished and each section is rounded out.  The lid also fits perfectly into the jar with a line to show exactly where to position it on the vessel.  The jar is from 2006 and it is in perfect condition.


$ 17,000.00
Youngblood, Nancy – Large Box with Shell Designs with Shell & Avanyu Lid

This is an exceptional large box by Nancy Youngblood.  It is not often that she makes boxes and this particular piece combines many different techniques used in her pottery.  The box is an elegant shape with a length, width and height proportionality that works for the size. The sides of the box have shells on them, and not how each ridge of the shell is rounded out like her straight melon ribs! The ends of the box have circular shells. The use of shells reflects the shells used on traditional dancers at the Pueblo and that they have been used culturally for centuries.  The top of the box has a carved and polished avanyu encircling the handle, which is a double sided shell.  One visually dynamic aspect of the box is the how she has sanded the matte areas so that they are so smooth. It is a critical part of pieces as any uneven surface is revealed in the light as a small shadow!  The polished surfaces just glow with the reflection of the light.   Consider that each shell edge or swirling shell has two “sides”to be polished and the surface area of the piece is about double its size!  This box is from 2008 and came originally from Nancy to the gallery and now it has come back to us.  It is in perfect condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.   Nancy has won numerous awards for her melon bowls and this is undoubtedly a classic and important piece of her pottery.

$ 28,000.00
Youngblood, Nancy – Large Box with Horses & Melon Rib Lid

It is not often that Nancy Youngblood finishes a box as complicated or as intricate as this piece!  Boxes are inherently difficult to make with chances that they will crack in the drying or firing stages.  As well, making a box at this size is even more difficult. The result, however, is spectacular. This box has four horses, one on each side.  Nancy won a  “Best of Show” award for one of her first large vessels with a horse on it a few years ago.  For this box, she has taken the horse concept and extrapolated it out onto the entire surface. Each horse is carved in a running position with tails and manes flying.  The muscles are rounded out giving each horse a more defined appearance.  Above each horse is a cloud and raindrops are also carved into the clay. It is the lid which actually ties this piece together.  The top is fully carved with melon ribs which create the “clouds” swirling above the horses. The ribs of the clouds connect to the clouds above the horses, adding another dimension to the box.  Finally, the surface has been polished with Nancy’s trademark high shine.  Using a stone, she polishes the surface to a glassy appearance.  Simply.  Stunning.  The interior and rim of the box are slipped with mica, which is a subtle addition to the piece.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay.  The final photo is of Nancy holding the box, just to give a sense of how big it really is!


$ 23,000.00
Youngblood, Nancy – 64 Rib Melon Bowl with Lid (2017)

This is one of the few 64 rib melon bowls by Nancy Youngblood. The bowl has 64 even ribs, each deeply and evenly carved into the clay. She does not make many of the 64 rib pieces and in the past 20 years, we have only had one other! One of the visually dynamic aspects to this piece is not only the number of ribs, but how close together they are on the bowl!  Here they are very deeply carved and each rib is fully polished.  Nancy has a particular polishing stone which allows her to polish deep on the sides of the each rib.  Consider as well that the polishing on this piece takes an extraordinary amount of time.  Each rib has two “sides”to be polished and the surface area of the piece is about double its size!  Typically for her 64 rib pieces she does not create a lid, as it is possible to chip the very thin edges to of the ribs right as the mouth.  However, here she has created a lid which fits perfectly!  The top of the lid is fully polished and is a signature form for her work.  The bowl is amazing when held, as with the depth of the ribs, it almost feels as if it is floating in your hands!  Nancy has won numerous awards for her melon bowls and this is undoubtedly a classic of her style!

$ 16,000.00
Youngblood, Nancy – Jar with Horse and Lightning (2017)

While this is a smaller piece by Nancy Youngblood, the sophistication and technical superiority of the design work is immediately evident.  She has carved a horse onto one side of the piece.  Note the use of the melon ribs for the flowing mane and tail.  However, it is the body of the horse and the way she was able to create the musculature, and even the details like the hooves, which is amazing!  As the jar is turned there is a jagged band or very deeply carved and angular melon ribs. The depth and precision of the carving for the size is visually striking.  The ribs here meet up with the hooves of the horse, creating a lightning strike and the rain.  It is a brilliant play of design and strikingly executed in carving and polish.  It is exciting to see the continued creativity and innovation of this important pueblo artist!

$ 4,800.00
King, Charles S., “Spoken Through Clay”

Spoken Through Clay

A NEW  RELEASE SPECIAL:  $95.00, including shipping (US)! Check out the new review in the Denver Post!

 Just a few things which make this book unique!
*   The size!  The book is 11.75″ x 14.25″ and weights over 8 pounds!
*  The photography of the pottery is stunning, emphasizing the individual pieces.
*  Each caption is the artist discussing the individual piece on the page.
*  The artist “biographies” are from interviews with the artists and they discuss their art, culture, lives and history.
*  Organization: The book is not organized by pueblo or family, but entails new ways to think about the future of Native pottery.
*  Printing in Italy gives the book very high quality color and paper.
* The photos of the living artists were taken by Will Wilson using a tin-type process. He was a recipient of the 2107 New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in photography!
*  The book features work by more than 30 contemporary potters and more than a dozen important historic potters.
*  There are essays by myself, Peter Held and Eric Dobkin.  They add to the overall understanding of the project a historic perspective.


August 18, Pasatiempo Review

“Charles S. King’s new book, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery in the Southwest, The Eric S. Dobkin Collection, is spectacularly heavy —which is a problem from a practical standpoint, because once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. With dreamy tintype artist portraits by Diné photographer Will Wilson, dazzlingly crisp images from Addison Doty, and intimate first-person essays written by dozens of artists, the book is a visually delicious, intellectually consuming foray into historic and contemporary Southwestern pottery. In short, prepare to swoon.

If you’re thinking of this as a coffee-table book, you’ll need to imagine a decently sized coffee table. The book is more than a foot tall and, when opened, two feet wide, but its outsize appearance belies the often delicate beauty of its contents: hundreds of individual pieces of pottery from Eric S. Dobkin’s exquisitely curated collection — arguably the largest and most important of its kind. Gallery owner, author, and Pueblo pottery expert King designed Spoken Through Clay to be approachable for those unfamiliar with Native American pottery. “In the age of social media, I wanted to make the book both visually striking and personal,” King said. The book opens with essays by King, Dobkin, and curator Peter Held, who calls clay “the most archival of materials … seductive, sensuous, responsive, geologic, and malleable.”

“I wanted the end result of the book to be that the reader would connect with the artists in a personal way, beyond just the art, and understand the time it takes to become an artist, to achieve success,” King said. Sprawling yet intimate, Spoken Through Clay introduces its readers not just to the beauty of Southwestern pottery but also to the fascinating stories of the people who make it.Iris McLister, Pasatiempo


“It’s one of the things that makes us who we are. It’s what holds our family together. We are a family of potters. It’s our identity. People don’t realize how much work goes into it just processing the clay and making it. You have to do it with your heart.”—Linda Tafoya-Sanchez


FEATURED ARTISTS Grace Medicine Flower • Dextra Quotskuyva • Autumn Borts-Medlock • Jody Naranjo • Harrison Begay Jr. • Jordan Roller • Sara Fina Tafoya • Lonnie Vigil • Margaret Tafoya • Steve Lucas • LuAnn Tafoya • Loren Ami • Toni Roller • Popovi Da • Linda Tafoya-Sanchez • Mark Tahbo • James Ebelacker• Yvonne Lucas • Jeff Roller • Lisa Holt • Harlan Reano • Nampeyo • Jacquie Stevens • Nathan Youngblood • Jacob Koopee Jr. • Jennifer Moquino • Christopher Youngblood • Maria Martinez • Tony Da • Tammy Garcia • Virgil Ortiz • Joseph Lonewolf • Johnathan Naranjo • Nancy Youngblood • Les Namingha • Russell Sanchez • Christine McHorse • Richard Zane Smith • Rondina Huma • Susan Folwell • Dominique Toya • Jody Folwell

Spoken Through Clay features the pottery of iconic Native American artists from historic potters Nampeyo and Maria Martinez, to contemporary potters Tammy Garcia, Virgil Ortiz, and many others, are featured in a new book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection, covering a wide range of mostly Pueblo artists from the Southwest.

“The physical scale of the vessels combined with the depth of the contemporary collection [is] breathtaking,” says author Charles S. King. The book is part of a “transitional process of looking to the clay, the vessel, and the potter’s voice and allowing the pieces to stand on the merit of their artistic integrity.”

The book includes portraits and voices of renowned potters speaking about their artistry and technique, families, culture, and traditions. Many of the artists are connected by Pueblos, generations, or family members. Dynamic color photography captures the depth and dimension of the pieces, while the artists provide an illuminating perspective through narrative captions. Artists, academics, collectors, family members, and gallerists add additional insight about the lives, historical context, and importance of these potters and their work.

SPOKEN THROUGH CLAY Native Pottery of the Southwest The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
By Charles S. King Essay by Peter Held

Artist portraits by Will Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-89013-624-9

352 pages, 320 color plates, 40 artist portraits

Publication Date: August 01, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charles S. King is the author of Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, The Life and Art of Tony Da, Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180, and numerous articles on Pueblo pottery. He has served on boards of art associations, judged pottery at prestigious events, and lectures about the art form. His business King Galleries represents many of today’s leading Native potters and important historic works in clay. Charles lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

$ 125.00 $ 95.00
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