Joyce Lewis Ortiz


Joyce Ortiz, Cochiti Pueblo, NM

Growing up and living all my life in Cochiti Pueblo, I remember and picture my Mother, Seferina Ortiz always sitting at the table with her clay covered hands sculpting a piece of pottery. She would turn to me and invite me to sit down and take a piece of clay and try making whatever came to mind.  She would than say “You will never go wrong making pottery, you will always have something to fall back on”.  I was in the 10th grade when I finally took her up on  her invitation.  I sat next to her, carefully watching how she handled the clay and made my first attempt at building a small figure, which came out to be a mermaid sitting on a rock. As I continued handling the ball of clay, I thought to myself, this is so much fun and tried making various figures.  Mom would say my pieces were like my Grandmother’s, Laurencita Herrera, thin and fragile.

Working full time as a School nurse, I work on pottery in the summer months when vacation comes around and attend the Indian Market yearly since 1998.  I in return encourage my own children to try their hand at pottery and tell them what their Grandma always told me.  My two sons, Joshua and Dominick have taken interest.  As Mom told me “You’ll never go wrong” I continue to hold that statement close to my heart and continue to keep the tradition she taught me ongoing.  I will strive to teach my grandchildren as well.




Mary Janice Ortiz

Janice Ortiz (b. 1956), started making pottery as a young child until I got into playing sports. Sports was my priority, so I didn’t make pottery again until after I graduated from college and it was only as a hobby.  It wasn’t until after I met my husband that I considered making it my full-time passion.  My grandmother, Laurencita Herrera, and my mother, Seferina Ortiz, were my first influences when I was young.  I remember sitting alongside of them as they made pottery and was shy to ask if I could try making something.  I thought they would tell me to go away and play instead. But both encouraged me to “get my hands into the clay”.  Now that they are both gone, my brother, Virgil Ortiz, is my inspiration.  At times I get frustrated but with his words of wisdom and encouragement, I continue. I would like for my nephews, nieces, and grandchildren to continue this dying art form  – in turn, they can pass it on to future generations.

Kyle Ortiz

Kyle Ortiz (born xxxx),  grew up watching many of his family members making pottery, never really intending to become a potter himself. When younger, he didn’t have the patience for it and dismissed the art of working with clay. He got to high school and fell in love with the welding program which sparked his artistic roots. Specifically, the potential for making art out of metal in the style of his family’s clay works, with the intention of learning more about metal to incorporate into the families artistic way of life. He decided to get a degree in Metal Technology in hopes of adding to the family’s repertoire. During this period in college, short on money for school, he was convinced to try working with clay. It was also his first attempt at participating in Indian Market. Since then he has grown to love the family’s tradition of working with clay and hopes to keep it alive. He has participated in Indian Market every year since that first summer in 2012, along with several other family shows. He has grown to love the family tradition and strives to keep learning and push himself to become a great artist in different mediums. He currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico to help care for his Grandmother.





Dominick Ortiz

Dominick Ortiz (born xxxx), My name is Dominic Ortiz I am the grandson of Guadalupe and Seferina and the son of Joyce Ortiz I started making party when I was around six or seven my grandmother used to watch me while my mother was at work and my grandma would always encourage me to pick up the clay and start making I liked it and since then I’ve just kept making. I usually show at the Santa Fe Indian market every year. I’ve lived in Cochiti Pueblo all my life and currently work as a forestry technician/firefighter. so in my spare time whenever I can I try to make pottery





Virgil Ortiz

add short bio for VO