Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Self-taught art, Acoma Pueblo pottery

Lucy Lewis was a matriarchal Pueblo Indian artist, whose works are in museums across the nation. She lived and worked in Acoma Pueblo and brought new interest to old designs such as the lightening jar and the bear heartline. Her pottery was graceful and much admired, and all her daughters, as well as her son Andrew, became potters in their own right. Nieces followed along in the family tradition and some of the finest and thinnest walled pieces bear the Lewis name. Click on the title and you will see more of this collection, which I hand picked in the 1980's to 1990's, during memorable visits with the family. Dolores and Emma Lewis were gracious hosts and thanks to them I was able to meet Lucy and watch her painstakingly decorate some of her final pots.


  1. Does the art of these people really qualify as "outsider art"?

  2. I often write abut self-taught art that is technically not what most people would think of when they consider outsider artists. But this work is communitarian, taught from one generation to the next, and done completely the traditional way. The clay is gathered from sacred areas, the paint is made from stones and vegetation, the firing is under piles of dung, and the symbols used are from an over 600 year heritage. In the US the umbrella of 'outsider art' is quite encompassing, sometimes including ethnographic works, and Native American arts and culture. Thank you for your thought provoking question.