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 Nancy (Yellow Aspen) Youngblood  (1955 - )



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Lived/Active: New Mexico      Known for: Indian pottery, miniatures, carving, design

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Ad Code: 3
Nancy Youngblood
from Auction House Records.
Untitled Vessel
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for her colorful, intricately designed Southwest Indian-motif pottery, Nancy Youngblood was born at Fort Lewis, Washington but at age 13 moved with her mother to the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico while her father served in Vietnam.  Her mother, Mela Youngblood, was a potter, as was Nancy's grandmother, Margaret Tafoya, "the matriarch of pueblo pottery".  From Tafoya, she learned traditional methods of pottery making, and by 1972 she was exhibiting her work and that year won second prize at the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial competition.

Her father, having returned from the war, said he would support Nancy financially only if she would continue schooling.  In 1973, she graduated from McCurdy High School and then attended the San Francisco Art Institute on a scholarship.  She returned to New Mexico, and determined to pursue pottery, moved in with her aunt Shirley Tafoya at Santa Clara.  Together the created miniature pots.  At this time, Youngblood's signature style began to appear---"deeply ridged, S-swirl melon bowls".

She also enrolled in art classes at the University of New Mexico, and during this time did some design and carving work.  However, she made the decision to focus on her pottery.  By 1976, she had a solo exhibition in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the gallery owner, Stanley Cohen, until his death 19 years later, took over the marketing of her work.

In the 1980s, she increased the size of her pots from miniatures and shaped vases, water jars and melon bowls with designs expanded from those rooted in Pueblo life to thunderbird and shell designs.  Although, her experimentations have taken her beyond her cultural roots, she has reaffirmed in her later work her Santa Clara traditions that she learned from family members, the deeply carved designs and unique polish with bear paw and other symbols. 

In 1989, she won the 'Best of Show' award at the Santa Fe Indian Market, and in 1997, she received the Distinguished Artist Award from the Santa Fe Rotary Foundation.

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