Christine McHorse

Navajo potter Christine McHorse
Christine McHorse

Born Christine Nofchissey in 1948, Christine McHorse is a Navajo potter and sculptor. She's proud to be 100% Navajo. She has won so many awards for her work it has been raised into a whole other classification.

Christine's father was a heavy equipment operator at a copper mine near Clifton, AZ. Christine grew up there, attending regular public schools. She spent summers on the Navajo Reservation with her grandmother, herding sheep near Ganado.

After high school, she attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and graduated in 1968. Three years later she married Joel McHorse, a silversmith from Taos.

Christine says she learned how to make pottery from Joel's grandmother, Lena Archuleta. Taos pottery is usually simple and elegant with little or no decoration beyond that afforded by the micaceous slip they apply to nearly every piece. When Christine does add decoration, she draws on the rich traditions of the Navajos for her designs.

Christine was raised among Anglos, spent summers on the Navajo Nation and married into Taos Pueblo. She lives in Santa Fe, where she feels free to allow Clay Mother to speak to her as Clay Mother wishes. And to do as Clay Mother asks.

Christine was a participant in the Santa Fe Indian Market, earning blue ribbons almost every year. In 1992 she entered 2 pieces in the juried competition, earned 2 blue ribbons, opened her booth the next morning to a long line of collectors. The first 2 collectors bought her only 2 pots and she was headed back home before noon of the first day. She hasn't participated in the Market much since as the strength of her connection with Clay Mother has elevated her onto the global stage. What she likes most about it: she's completely free to create with Clay Mother, and the beauty and elegance of her creations is a testament to that.

Leather strap on a micaceous clay canteen
Micaceous clay canteen with a leather strap
8 1/2 in H by 8 1/2 in Dia
Micaceous black sculptural piece
Black micaceous sculptural piece
13 1/4 in H by 9 1/2 in Dia
Fire clouds and an organic opening on a brown on brown shaped and formed jar
Brown on brown shaped and formed jar with an organic opening and fire clouds
12 1/4 in H by 15 3/4 in Dia
A band of fine line sgraffito decorates the neck of a resting bird sculptural piece
Resting bird sculptural piece with a band of sgraffito fine line design around the neck
9 3/4 in H by 8 1/2 in Dia

Navajo Potters