Josephine Kie


Curator Josephine Kie (Laguna) is a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, grandma, and teacher. She is also a traditional and contemporary potter and a multimedia artist.


Tribal Affiliations:

Artwork Affiliations:

Josephine chose the following for the Grounded in Clay exhibit:

Acoma vase

Acoma vase
c. 1880–1900
Clay and paint
14½ x 10¼ in. (36.8 x 26 cm)
Collection School for Advanced Research


Clay is especially important to me because it is a beautiful gift from Mother Earth. As one of my pottery students once stated after we had hiked for clay and then soaked, ground, and prepared it to be mixed, “This is Indian gold.” Clay, along with the preparation that happens before we create pots, is a true labor of love. This is why I have so much respect for the clay and the people who choose to create with it.

When I first visited the SAR collection years ago, I was drawn to this piece because of its beauty and fragility. I looked at it and imagined the women who once used this vase. I also tried to imagine what was going through the potter’s mind as they carefully created and painted this pot. The curves of the pot and its unique design intrigued me because I had never seen a vessel like this. This pot spoke to me so loudly that I chose to replicate it with my own twist, while remaining true to the original vessel.

I knew that I wanted to re-create the pot after having the opportunity to handle it, study its curves, and sketch the designs. After a week and much thought and prayer, I sat at my kitchen table early one morning and asked our spirits for guidance and strength. Coil after coil, I worked with the clay, carefully building the vase. Halfway through, I received a call from my eldest daughter, saying that her waters had broken and she was in labor with my first grandchild. I wrapped up my pot and explained to the clay that I would return to complete what I had started. That day my beautiful granddaughter Abigail was born.

When I returned home a few days later, I continued to work and finished creating the vase. As I began to paint it, all I could think of was how blessed I was to have a gorgeous granddaughter, and how pleased I was that my new creation was evolving with such ease. When the pot was complete and fired, I sat looking at my beautiful creation in the same way my daughter looked at her baby girl. Then, as I admired my vase, I named her Abigail and gifted her to my granddaughter.