Lawrence Namoki

Lawrence Namoki
Lawrence Namoki

Lawrence Namoki is from Walpi, Arizona, born into the Flute-Deer Clan in 1949. Hopi society is reflection of Hopi religion and his father, Maxwell, was a high priest of both clans, and a kachina maker, too. Namoki was not allowed to watch his father carve when he was a boy since carving was limited only to those initiated into the ceremonial kivas. When Namoki was a teenager he was initiated in his father's Kachina Society. Then his father gave him a piece of cottonwood and taught him how to make the sacred figures. While Namoki still carves kachinas, a trip to the Santa Fe Indian Market inspired him to try his hand at pottery making. He began producing pottery in 1983.

A self-taught potter, Lawrence has earned many awards for ceramic creations so intricately carved, painted and slipped that the pots look like they are made of wood. In his own words: "I concentrate on one pot at a time, I let my hands do the carving but my mind is on the next project. I never sketch it out. When I'm developing designs, I hear the voices of my elders in my mind like a recording, telling me stories. These are stories that are over a thousand years old, passed from generations. How man was created. How the Hopis prophesied it. I spread my stories using my pottery. My pottery is my canvas."

Images of four kachinas doing a blessing ceremony carved on a pot
Jar carved with images of four kachinas doing a blessing ceremony
6.75 in H by 5 in Dia
Hopi Purification Dance on a polychrome seed pot
Polychrome seed pot lightly carved and painted with a Hopi Purification Dance
5.25 in H by 4.25 in Dia

Hopi Potters