Born Christine Nofchissey in 1948, Christine McHorse was a Navajo potter and sculptor. She was proud to be 100% Navajo. She earned so many awards for her work that her name was 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 told us 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 did add decorations, she drew on the rich traditions of the Navajo for her designs.
Christine was raised among Anglos, spent summers on the Navajo Nation and married into Taos Pueblo. She lived in Santa Fe, where she felt most free to allow Clay Mother to speak to her as Clay Mother wished. And to do as Clay Mother asked of her.
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.
Christine didn't participate in the Market much after that as the strength of her connection with Clay Mother elevated her onto the global stage. What she liked most about it: she was completely free to create with Clay Mother, and the beauty and elegance of her creations became a testament to that.
Sadly, Christine died from Covid 19 in February 2020.