Tribal Affiliation: Hopi
Pauline Setella, a Hopi potter, was born in 1930 and has been making pottery for over 40 years. She was raised in a Hopi village called Mishongnovi, in Second Mesa, AZ. Pauline Setalla married into the Frog Woman/Feather Woman families, and was taught by two well-known potters, her mother-in- aw, Agnes Navasie and her sister-in-law, Eunice “Fawn” Navasie. Pauline uses only traditional methods in making her pottery. The clay she uses is obtained from the land she lives on. The pots are molded through the skilled use of coils. The exterior is painted with natural colors that come from native Beeweed and Mustard weed plants. After being polished, the pot is carefully fired outdoors with sheep dung. Pauline signs her pottery showing a bear claw, for she is a member of the Bear Clan.
Her mentors taught her “when creating a pot, you bring it to life and you breathe life into it, always treat it with the greatest respect”. She prays a silent prayer for every pot she creates and thanks all the great spirits for blessing her with this talent to continue a long live legacy. It was reported by her son that she is in ill health and has retired from making pottery. She had 10 children, some of whom are potters carrying on her legacy.
Adapted from: Fourteen Families in Pueblo Pottery by Rick Dillingham and other sources.