Dorothy Torivio was born into Acoma Pueblo in 1946. She grew up in a pottery-making family and was producing pottery for the marketplace by 1970. She became known as one of Acoma’s finest potters in the 1970's, traveling all over the U.S. demonstrating her process and teaching it to others.
Dorothy grew up watching her mother, Mary Antonio Vallo, making pottery. She was fascinated by the process but her mother never gave her any direct instruction. That was left to her mother-in-law, Lolita Torivio Concho.
Dorothy's father worked for the railroad and he was transferred to California in the early 1950's. She grew up and completed her education in California but during the summer breaks, she and her mother would return to Acoma. She said she spent most of her teenage summers standing beside the roadway of old US Highway 66 selling her mother's and grandmother's pots. The money she made there helped to sustain her family at Acoma. When Dorothy found herself the single mother of three kids in the early 1970s, she returned to making pottery full-time to get by.
In the early days of her pottery-making career she would make her pots, decorate them with the Mimbres-derived designs she had learned growing up and then travel to Santa Fe to sell her wares under the portal at the Palace of the Governors. Then one day in 1982 she got a different idea: paint a single geometric design and repeat it over and over again across the whole shape of the pot. That idea took off and soon she moved from selling pots on the sidewalk under the portal to exhibiting her work in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Her art evolved and combined traditional pottery shapes with her own perspective and often created an eye catching swirl design that contains both radiating and spiral motion.
Dorothy earned awards at New Mexico State Fair (various years), the Heard Museum Guild Show, the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts and Crafts Show. She and her work were included in the 1998 National Museum of Women in the Arts exhibit The Legacy of Generations: Pottery by American Indian Women.
Dorothy passed away in 2011. Her niece, Sandra Victorino, worked with Dorothy for years and she creates pieces with similar shape and design to Dorothy's but with her own additions to the artform. Sandra has, in turn, passed the knowledge on to her son Cletus.