Judy Lewis was born into Acoma Pueblo in 1966 and has been making pottery since 1986. Her primary mentor in learning to make pottery was her sister, Marilyn Ray Lewis.
Judy is a member of one of the two non-related Lewis families at Acoma Pueblo: the Lucy Lewis family is the more well known dynasty while the descendants of Katherine Lewis (Marilyn Ray, Rebecca Lucario, Bernard and Sharon Lewis, Carolyn Concho, Diane Lewis and Judy Lewis) have been responsible for some of the most innovative pottery to be produced at Acoma. Each member of her family has carved out their own particular niche: Judy's niche is one where she creates corn maiden, storyteller, and friendship bowl figures with detailed facial expressions. She adds joyous dispositions to some by making accents with appliqué bluebirds, butterflies, cats, dogs, lizards and ladybugs.
In Native American art, a storyteller refers to a ceramic figure adorned with smaller figures of children. In Pueblo society, a storyteller is a real person who communicates the legends of their culture and helps to keep the oral history of the people alive. The first pottery storyteller figure was made by Helen Cordero (of Cochiti Pueblo) around 1964, in honor of her grandfather, a great storyteller. The concept soon spread to the other pueblos, each exhibiting their own distinctive and delightful expressions of the intense love all Pueblo people have for their children. Female figures represent a mother or grandmother singing or telling stories to children, that "singing" is represented by the open mouth.
Judy's hand-pinched and hand-coiled contemporary shapes are accented with traditional Acoma designs and natural pigments in a crisp pastel coloration. Natural clay tends to be very white in the Acoma area and that gives her finished pieces a radiance in itself.
Over the years Judy has earned numerous awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show.
In an interview with Judy and her sister Diane, Judy talks about how she makes her storytellers and other figures and what the shapes and designs mean to her. The video was streamed live in August, 2020.
Judy signs her work: "Judy Lewis, Acoma, N.M."