Joseph Cerno was born on January 30, 1947, Barbara on October 20, 1951 (Barbara is also half Acoma (her mother: Esther Gunn Hayah, Acoma) and half Hopi (her father: William David Hayah of Polacca, Hopi)). Barbara and Joseph have been making traditional, hand-made Acoma pottery since their late teens... well over 40 years. Both learned the ancient art of pottery making from Joseph's mother, Santana Cimmeron Cerno, although she didn't encourage either of them to work with clay as they were growing up.
Barbara and Joseph started making miniatures together in 1969. Over the next few years they graduated to making larger and larger pots until today, they are known for making some of the largest Acoma pots ever made. They won their first ribbon (a 1st Prize) at the Gallup InterTribal Ceremonials in 1971 but that was only the beginning of a long, award-winning career for both of them. They have gone on to earn awards at every major Southwest Pottery show including Santa Fe Indian Market and The New Mexico State Fair. They are known especially for their large storage jars.
Usually Joseph does the vessel-making part and Barbara does the painting but every now and then one or another will make their own piece from end-to-end. For both of them that's usually a seed pot. There's now a highly regarded Joseph Cerno, Jr. making pottery, too. They usually sign their pieces: "Acoma, NM B.J. Cerno" or "Acoma, New Mexico Barbara & Joseph Cerno".