Jemez Pueblo woman shows pottery talent at Harvard


JEMEZ PUEBLO, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico woman has shared her craft more than 2,200 miles across the country at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“This year, we were fortunate enough to come here to show how handmade pottery is made,” Wilma Tosa said in a video produced by Harvard University.

Wilma and her husband Aaron traveled from Jemez Pueblo to Harvard to help anthropology students get a hands-on lesson at the university’s ceramics studio last month.

“My aunt, she used to always, tap my hands, and she goes, ‘I love your hands,'” Wilma explained. “And one time, I asked her, ‘What’s the difference?’  And she said, ‘You just have hands that you know how to work with your pottery.'”

Her invaluable lesson made headlines in the Boston Globe online and Wilma’s talent also got some traction on social media.

Matt Liebmann, professor of anthropology, said, “Wilma’s been making pottery since she was five years old. She still practices handmade, coiled pottery as her ancestors did more than 1,000 years ago.”

“In archaeology, we usually study ceramics and pottery after it’s been broken and used up and buried in the ground for a couple thousand years.  And so, we wanted the students to see the process from the beginning:  How pottery is made, and how pottery is designed and make it out of clay,” said Liebmann.

Tosa makes everything from redware bowls to jars to vases.

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