Nampeyo was known internationally as a premier potter. She based her work on techniques used by Hopi and Tewa artisans. She learned pottery from her father's mother, a Hopi, who specialized in “crackle ware,” smooth-finished pottery that was intricately painted.
Nampeyo integrated prehistoric Sikyatki designs into her work. She and her second husband, Lesso, copied motifs from pots excavated from an ancient ruin in 1895, and Nampeyo reproduced them on her own vessels. She eventually mastered the Sikyatki style, which is characterized by geometric figures and pictures of animals and faces. She used a yellowish clay to produce the low wide-shouldered pots
She taught other First Mesa women her technique, thus creating a renaissance in Hopi pottery. Nampeyo's eyesight began to fail in the mid-1920s, and Lesso painted the vessels she had shaped. Her daughters and granddaughters also became skilled potters and carried on the tradition she had revived.Died: 7/20/1942