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Max Early

Max Early was born in 1963 into the Laguna Pueblo. His mother is of the Turkey Clan and his father is of the Bear Clan. Max married into the Cochiti Pueblo and has 3 children. His interest in tradition began when he was a teenager living with his grandparents. Max was never encouraged to actually work with clay since his grandmother, Clara Acoya Encino, emphasized that pottery making was a woman’s job. It was, however, acceptable for Max to assist with painting his grandmother’s pottery. He began doing this when she developed arthritis and could no longer paint. He eventually moved away to attend college and his interest in pottery lay dormant for nearly 10 years.

He began painting ceramic ware as a hobby, but couldn’t feel any life in the commercial pieces. He decided to venture out on his own. He knew where to gather raw materials and set out, with determination, to make a large olla. Once complete, Max called on a fellow potter, Gladys Paquin, and asked her teach him how to fire pottery. His first olla survived the firing and Max took the success as a sign that he was destined to become an artisan.

With only a handful of traditional potters existing in the Laguna Pueblo, Max knew what his obligation to his Pueblo would be. Max says that he first learned to make drums and moccasins. However, drum and moccasin makers were a dime a dozen. His decision to change over to traditional pottery came from his desire to help save the art of pottery making within his pueblo from extinction. Max is encouraging his children to continue the pottery making tradition. Max’s goal to become a mentor for his people will fulfill his ambition to keep the tradition alive and endure for future generations to come.