White, Elizabeth "Polingaysi Qoyawayma" (1892-1990)
Elizabeth White is truly one of the amazing stories from Hopi. She grew up at Orabi on Third Mesa at Hopi and became a teacher. After she retired from teaching in 1954 began making pottery. The fascinating story of her early life is documented in her book, "No Turning Back." In 1978 she was awarded both the Arizona Indian Living Treasure tribute and the Heard Museum’s Gold Medal. In 1991 she was inducted into the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame. Her pottery uses the various colors of Hopi clay, and much of it has a very utilitarian appearance. She also began the style of using a single ear of corn as a design in repousse (pushed out from the inside) on her pottery. Her pottery is all signed in the clay with her Hopi name Polingaysi, which means, "butterfly sitting among the flowers in the breeze". The legacy of Elizabeth continues in the pottery of her nephew Al Qoyawayma. It is not often that we find Elizabeth's pottery, and there is always such a wonderful charm in their traditional yet simple shapes and forms.