Fannie Nampeyo: Hopi Pottery


Fannie Nampeyo was a famous Hopi pottery artist. Her mother, Nampeyo, was an accomplished artist with art included at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. All of Fannie Nampeyo’s seven children were also potters. She was from First Mesa on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. She became the matriarch of the Hopi-Tewa Corn Clan. Fannie Nampeyo and her husband Vinton were among the first families at First Mesa to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She passed in 1987.

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Diane Dittemore writes, “Fannie was Nampeyo’s youngest daughter and arguably the most talented potter among her offspring. Her life spanned the lion’s share of the 20th century, and she remained a prolific artist almost to the time of her death. In addition to emulating her mother’s ceramic virtuosity, Fannie inherited Nampeyo’s role as matriarch of the Corn Clan—a vitally important and time-consuming ceremonial position. Fannie began making pottery in her early 20s, teaming up with her mother by painting the pots that the near-blind Nampeyo was still able to expertly form. She continued to assist Nampeyo until the latter’s death while building her own reputation as a solo artist. As with many artists, Fannie held other jobs and interests throughout her life. She started out as a teen working for Hopi House in the housekeeping department. A tamale business made her famous in the environs of Keams Canyon. She became a devout Mormon and devoted much time to religious affairs as well as to learning Mormon crafts such as quilting.”

Fannie Nampeyo is pictured on the left with her mother on the right.


Images courtesy Andrea Fisher, King Galleries.