Judy Lewis

Judy Lewis
Acoma storyteller

Judy Lewis was born in 1966 into the Pueblo of Acoma. Taught mostly by her older sister, Marilyn Lewis Ray, Judy was inspired to continue potting in the family tradition when she was 20.

She is a member of one of the two non-related Lewis families at Acoma Pueblo: the Lucy Lewis family is the more well known but the family of Katherine Lewis (Marilyn Ray, Rebecca Lucario, Carolyn Concho, Diane Lewis and Judy Lewis) are responsible for some of the most innovative pottery being produced at Acoma. Each member of the family has carved out their own particular niche: Judy fashions storyteller, corn maiden, and friendship bowl figures with detailed facial expressions and joyous dispositions accented with butterflies, bluebirds, cats, dogs and ladybugs. Her work is the expression of an artist who obviously truly loves what she does.

In Native American ceramic art, a storyteller is a figure adorned with smaller figures of children. In Pueblo society, a storyteller is a real person who communicates the legends and oral history of the culture. The first storyteller was made by Helen Cordero circa 1964, at Cochiti Pueblo in honor of her grandfather, a great storyteller. The tradition soon spread to the other pueblos, each exhibiting a distinctive and delightful expression of the intense love of the Pueblo people for their children. Judy only creates female storytellers, female figures that represent a grandmother or mother singing or telling stories to children, which is why all her storytellers have open mouths.

Judy's hand pinched and coiled contemporary shapes are accented with finely executed traditional designs and natural pigments. The natural clay of the Acoma area is very white, which gives her pieces a built-in radiance that is matched by her figures' sweet smiles.

Over the years Judy has won numerous awards at the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market and the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show. She signs her work: "Judy Lewis, Acoma, N.M."

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