Jody Folwell was born into Santa Clara Pueblo in August, 1942. Her mother was Rose Naranjo, a highly respected Santa Clara potter. Jody and her siblings, Dolly Naranjo, Nora Naranjo, Tito Naranjo, and Rina Swentzell, grew up learning from some of the best traditional potters Santa Clara had to offer. She balances that traditional learning with studies in history and political science at the University of New Mexico, finishing with both a BA and an MA. She became an educator and lecturer from the early 1960s through the mid 1970s. It was in 1974 that Jody began making pottery full time.
Early in her career Jody moved away from traditional Santa Clara blackware and redware to create buffware with new forms, styles and colors. She does engraving, incising, carving, cut-outs and painting. Her pottery usually has a political or social message to it, whether that message be about women's rights, children's dreams or whimsical pop art.
In 1987 Jody was chosen as a top contemporary Indian artist by the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles for their major exhibit "Eight Indian Artists II." Among the other artists in the exhibit were Apache sculptor Bob Haozous, Winnebago potter Jacquie Stevens and Navajo painter Clifford Beck, and others. The experience led to years of collaboration with Bob Haozous, son of Apache sculptor Alan Houser.
Some of the awards Jody has earned over the years:
- 1975 - 1st place, Most Creative Design in Any Classification, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1978 - 1st place, sienna and black vase, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1979 - 1st place, Heard Museum Guild Show, Phoenix
- 1979 - 2nd place, Black bowl with butterflies, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1979 - 2nd place, reclining figure, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1981 - Best of Class, Best of Division, 1st place, non-traditional, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1983 - 1st place, non-traditional, new forms, innovations, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1984 - Best of Division, non-traditional, new forms, innovations, hero pot, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1984 - 1st place, jars and vases, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1985 - Best of Show, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1988 - 2nd place, miscellaneous, Santa Fe Indian Market
- 1993 - 3rd place, non-traditional, sgraffito, w/o stones, any color except black, Santa Fe Indian Market
Jody learned the traditional craft from her mother Rose and she passed that teaching on to her daughters, Polly Rose Folwell and Susan Folwell.