Born in 1948, Lois Gutierrez is the sister of Gloria (Goldenrod) Garcia, Thelma Talachy and Minnie Vigil. They all learned the ancient art from their mother, Petra Montoya Gutierrez, as they were growing up. Petra was from Pojoaque Pueblo and had married into Santa Clara. Her daughters were raised using mostly Santa Clara clays and designs.
Lois married Derek de la Cruz many years ago and they've been working together since: Lois does most of the potting and painting while Derek works with the clay and helps with the firing. Lois and Derek are among the few potters still working at Santa Clara who are willing to search out and prepare the various colors of natural clay Lois uses on her pots. One of their collaborations took the Best of Show ribbon at the Santa Fe Indian Market in 1982 and they were so overwhelmed by the sudden increased demand for their pottery they never exhibited there again, often choosing to go to the New Mexico State Fair instead (and they've earned more than a few ribbons there, too).
Lois's specialty is polychrome pottery made the way it used to be at Santa Clara, before the carving and sgraffito processes took hold. Her designs are often depictions of scenes from pueblo life, adorned with appropriate geometrics.