Lucy McKelvey

My name is Lucy. I am Dine' (Navajo) but with some Hopi-Tewa ancestory. My clan is Tlashchi'i (Red Bottom), born for Todichi'ni (Bitter Water). I am mostly a self-taught potter who has spent 34 years refining the art of Navajo Pottery up and beyond tradition but still using traditional materials and methods.

My artwork is influenced by the ceremonies and traditional teachings of my grandfather and of my great-grandmother who partially raised me. Also the pottery from the ancient ruins near my home and my many Pueblo friends who inspired me, and quite possibly some of my Hopi-Tewa ancestory.

The main shows that I always participate in are the Santa Fe Indian Market in August and the Heard Museum Show in March. My husband and I do not travel as much as we used to. Other shows I have participated in are Eight Northern Pueblos, Gallup Ceremonial, Dallas Indian Festival of Arts, Totah Festival, Eitljorg Museum Show, Southwest Museum, the Red Earth Festival, Indian Artists of America, Rancacus Show, and the Pueblo Grande Show.

Some of my pottery is in the collections of Robert Redford, Lane Allen, The Raymond James Financial Institution, Heard Museum, Denver Museum of Natural History, San Diego Museum of Man, and the LDS Temple in Albuquerque.

Click to view Pottery by Lucy McKelvey

She spent her early childhood, until eighth grade, living mostly in Sheepsprings,   New Mexico with her great-grandmother and other older relatives in a very traditional setting.  There she spent her summers herding sheep and farming with them in the Chuska Mountains and living on the desert in the winter.  In eighth grade she moved with her mother to Gallup, New Mexico to attend school

Attended Cathedral Elementry School, Toadlena BIA School, Newcomb Public School, and Gallup High School. Spent 1 1/2 years as a LDS missionary for the Southwest Indian Mission working with her own people. Graduated from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah with a degree in Elementary Education and Indian Studies.

Work Experience:
She has taught for many years at various locations on the Navajo Reservation, in kindergarten, second and third grades, and in junior high art.She has done various artists in residences at elementary schools in the Four Corners area. She has worked as a full time career artist for the last twenty-two years.          

Shows and Exhibitions:
As of the last few years she has cut the number of shows she does down mainly to the Santa Fe Indian Market ( over 30 years) and the Heard Museum Show and the Totah Festival.
But in the past she has shown at the Eight Northern Pueblos, Gallup Ceremonial, Totah Festival, Eitlejorg Museum, Southwest Museum, Red Earth Festival, Pueblo Grande Show, Dallas Indian Festival of Arts and more
Raymond James Financial Institution Collection
Albuquerque LDS Temple
Lane Allen Collection
Smithsonian Collection
Denver Museum of Natural History Collection
Heard Museum Collection
San Diego Museum of Man Collection
Navajo Code Talker Museum, Kayenta, Arizona
Eitlejorg Museum

Numerous awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market over the yeas including Best of Division and many first place ribbons, Gallup Ceremonial many first place ribbons and special awards, Navajo Tribal Fair, Heard Museum, New Mexico State Fair, Best of Show at the Totah Festival and many more.

Lucy is unusual in that she ususally tries to make and sell her own work without going through too many galleries.  But she has been in many galleries throughout the years like the Heard Museum, Durango Trading Post, Fifth Generation, Lema Trading, Ancient Nations, and particularly Notah-Dineh in Cortez, Colorado and many more.

Navajo Folk Art, 2008, by Chuck and Jan Rosenak
Pueblo and Navajo Contemporary Pottery, 2000 and 2004, by Guy Berger and Nancy Schiffer.
Treasures of the Navajo, 1997, by Theda Bassman
Native Peoples Magazine, Aug 1992, cover and article
Enduring Traditions, 1994, by Jerry and Lois Jacka
Indian Trader Oct 1992
Gallup Independent September 13, 1992
Arizona Highways Magazine, November, 1988
Indian Market Supplement to the Albuquerque Journal, August, 2002, cover and article.         

The Navajo ceremonials and traditional teachings of all the old people that I was raised with, especially from my great-grandmother and grandparents. Also I have been greatly influenced by the pottery from the ruins that surrounded my childhood home and by Navajo and Pueblo potter friends that have helped, encouraged and inspired me. And last of all I might even be influenced by some of my Hopi-Tewa ansestory.

Artist Statement:
I am mostly a self taught potter who has spent the last 39 years trying to make the art of Navajo pottery evolve up into a fine art form that goes beyond tradition but still uses traditional native materials and methods I am known for making very large, polychrome pots in a great variety of shapes that are painted with almost outrageous detail. Most of my work tells a story and contains design elements from the ancients, cermonial sandpaintings, baskets, and rugs that have been stylized by my own imagination and inspiration.
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