Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

It was partially the encouragement she received early on from collector Alexander Girard, who bought her first figures, that enabled her to continue on her path, a path that led to the revival of figurative pottery, a tradition that dates back to pre-historic Pueblo cultures. This tradition ceased with the arrival of the Spanish, since figurative pottery was condemned as idolatrous.

"She really caused a revolution or renaissance in Pueblo ceramics. Her genius was that she took an exiting tradition, did something different with it, and it simply caught on. As a result the whole shape of Pueblo pottery has changed," says Barbara Babcock, author of The Pueblo Storyteller, a book about Helen.

"It's a very, very unique phenomenon in Pueblo ceramics for someone to just turn a new corner," said Stephen Becker, director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes