Nathan Youngblood

Santa Clara Pueblo

Nathan Youngblood
Nathan Youngblood

Nathan Youngblood was born in 1954 to Mela and Walt Youngblood at Fort Carson, CO. He traveled a lot in his early years due to his father's military career. In 1968 his father was sent to Vietnam and the rest of the family returned to Santa Clara Pueblo where Nathan learned the traditional way of making pottery from his grandmother, Margaret Tafoya. She taught him to make and polish his pots, telling him "take a little time, especially with the polishing, and you will be rewarded." He learned the design and carving aspect from his grandfather Alcario Tafoya.

Nathan entered a small bowl and a peace pipe in the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial in 1970 and earned First and Second Prizes in the juvenile division. It was in 1976 that he decided to commit to making pottery full time and apprenticed himself to his grandparents to learn all they could teach him. In those early years his work was very like his grandmother's. In the 1980s he started making new shapes and forms and expanding his designs to often encompass nearly the entire surface of the work. In the 1990s he began incorporating other influences into his work, especially Asian influences. That opened the door for other potters to expand their repertoires and includes elements from their cultures with elements of their worldly experience. After his grandmother passed in 2001, he revisited the old forms and shapes and went back to recreating them and applying new versions of his old designs to their surfaces. At this point in time, he has earned more than 140 ribbons for his works...

Over the years, Nathan has contributed much to his community, serving on the boards of the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremony, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. He has also traveled widely giving lectures in places like the Denver Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC.

Nathan's mother, Mela Youngblood, and sister, Nancy Youngblood, are also well-known in the world of Pueblo pottery.

Avanyu design carved into a red and tan plate
Red and tan plate carved with avanyu design
1.75 in H by 10.75 in Dia
Avanyu and geometric design carved into a red and buff jar
Red and buff jar carved with avanyu and geometric design
14 in H by 11 in Dia
Geometric design carved into a polychrome jar
Polychrome jar carved with geometric design
8.25 in H by 8.25 in Dia
Geometric design carved into a black jar
Black jar deocrated with a carved geometric design
4.75 in H by 5.25 in Dia
Plain red jar
Polished red jar with no decoration
4.25 in H by 5 in Dia
An avanyu and geometric design carved into a black wedding vase
Black wedding vase decorated with a carved avanyu and geometric design
8.25 in H by 6 in Dia
Bear paw imprints on a double-shouldered red jar
Double-shouldered red jar with bear paw imprints
8 in H by 7.5 in Dia
Polychrome jar carved with a medallion and geometric design
A medallion and geometric design carved into a polychrome jar
9 in H by 7 in Dia
Red jar carved with a melon design
Carved melon design on a red jar
3.25 in H by 5.5 in Dia
A geometric design carved into a black bowl
Black bowl decorated with a carved geometric design
4.25 in H by 8.5 in Dia
A stylized avanyu design carved into a polychrome jar with a pie crust rim
A pie crust rim on a polychrome jar carved with a stylized avanyu design
6.25 in H by 6.25 in Dia
Black jar carved with a geometric design A geometric design carved into a black jar
6.5 in L by 6.5 in W by 9 in H

Santa Clara Pueblo Potters