Johnny "Tse Pe" Gonzales was born into San Ildefonso Pueblo in 1940. He was the son of Romando Vigil and Rose Gonzales. Rose was the matriarch of a prominent San Ildefonso pottery family. She was originally from San Juan Pueblo and is credited with introducing carving to San Idefonso pottery.
Romando was originally married to Juanita Vigil but she died in 1933. Romando and Rose wanted to get married but there was pushback from the Gonzales family. Supposedly, that rift is what caused him to change his last name to Tse-Pe.
He married Dora Gachupin, daughter of Candelaria Gachupin, matriarch of a prominent Zia pottery family. The marriage was unusual in that Dora moved to San Ildefonso after the wedding and in most similar situations, the husband moves to his wife's pueblo.
Tse Pe learned the traditional way to make pottery from his mother. Dora came with extensive knowledge of the traditional Zia way, then she learned the San Ildefonso way from Rose, too.
Over the years, Dora and Tse-Pe collaborated a lot in their redware and blackware creations: both making the base pots and designing together but he was best known for adding green clay, micaceous slips and turquoise inlays.
He and Dora were divorced later in life and he married Jennifer Sisneros of Santa Clara. That lasted a few years, then he passed on in 2000.