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Nyla Nampeyo

Nyla “Nampeyo” Sahmie, member of the Corn Clan, was born in 1954 into the Hopi Reservation. She was taught the art of constructing Hopi pottery, using ancient traditional methods, passed down to her from her mother, Priscilla Namingha-Nampeyo. Nyla began experimenting with pottery at the age of 13. She has continued this long lived family tradition just like her ancestors have before her. Her goal is to become one of the finest potters ever just like the famed Nampeyo. Nyla is a fifth generation of Nampeyo potters currently working with clay.

Nyla specializes in hand coiled yellow-orange traditional pottery. She gathers her clay, grinds it down, cleans the clay, mixes, hand coils, sands, paints her designs, and fires the pottery, outdoors, with sheep dung. Her favorite patterns to paint are: migrations, double hummingbirds, and flowers. She recently has begun to hand coiling very large olla pots. Nyla stated, “Making pottery has come naturally to me and I am honored to be a member of one of the most famous Native American Family names”. She signs her pottery as: Nyla Nampeyo, followed by a corn symbol to denote her Clan origin.

Nyla currently is working with children at local Elementary Schools and High Schools in her area, educating the youth about the Hopi heritage and culture. She does this so that the tradition of the Hopi ways of life are continued and not forgotten.