This image is presented as a "thumbnail" because it is protected by copyright. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts respects the rights of artists who retain the copyright to their work. Title:Our Homes OurselvesArtist:Nora Naranjo-Morse Date:1999Creation Place:North America, United States, Southwest region, Santa Clara PuebloCredit Line:Gift of Sara and David LiebermanAccession Number:2000.76a-i
Nora Naranjo-Morse is trained in the traditional hand-built pottery techniques, but frequently incorporates modern elements or other media into her works of art.
"Before building my house I had a very limited view of myself in relationship to the world, this earth, the culture, everything. Traditional houses were made of compacted mud, straw and sand called adobe. . . . Not only was this a practical way of using the environment to build shelter, but it was and still is our connection to the earth. Our culture built its belief system to a great degree on the environment, including the idea that we emerged from the earth. This idea is still very rooted in people like me who insist on building their own homes.
When my mother gathered clay, she would take me with her. Before she allowed us to gather clay, we would kneel down and pray to the clay spirit, which in Tewa language is Nan chu kwee jo. That says volumes about our relationship to the earth. . . . My mother was making a connection to something very powerful. It's very symbolic to gather clay after saying these words and knowing that our people believe that they came out of the earth: that was my sense of community. And that is what I want to impart to my children."