Santa Clara Pueblo
Sophie Cata, “Eagle Feather Basket”, was
born in 1957 into the Santa Clara Pueblo. She was inspired to continue
the family tradition of pottery making from Flora Naranjo (grandmother)
and Frances Salazar (mother). She was taught all the fundamentals of
pottery making at the age of 6. Sophie strongly believes in tradition.
Sophie specializes in handmade traditional Santa Clara pottery. The
materials used to make her pottery is all provided to her from Mother
Earth. She gathers her clay and white sand within the Santa Clara Pueblo.
The clay & white sand are sifted for impurities, then mixed in equal
parts to form a mud type clay. The pottery is hand-coiled, and this
accounts for imperfections. When the pot is dried, designs are drawn
with a pencil and carved out with carving tools. She then sands her
pottery with sandpaper to make it round and smooth. She applies a red
slip on her pottery and polishes it with a polishing stone. Firing takes
place outdoors in an open kiln, the way of her ancestors, and slabs
of bark are added to the fire. It needs to reach a temperature of 800
When she makes black pottery, horse dung is added
to the fire to achieve a black finish. Her common designs are: bear
paws, feather designs, water serpents, kiva steps, and cloud designs.
Sophie signs her pottery as: Sophie Cata, Santa Clara Pueblo.
-None to date
-Pueblo Indian Pottery 750 Artist Biographies