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Christine Nofchissey McHorse


Eric and Barbara Dobkin Fellowship

The Indian Arts Research Center proudly announces Christine McHorse, a Diné ceramicist, as the 2006 Eric and Barbara Dobkin Fellowship recipient. Christine is an award winning potter-sculptor-jeweler and is best known for her work in micaceous clay.

This clay has several unique features. The mica acts as a natural temper and strengthener in the clay, allowing it to be fired at very high temperatures. Its ability to survive repeated heating and cooling, moreover, and its capacity to be worked into fine, thin-walled vessels provides Christine with the ideal material to create the sensual, complex forms in her work.

Ms. McHorse was born in Morenci, Arizona and has lived most of her life off the reservation, returning during the summer to herd sheep for her grandmother. She began her creative work in 1963, at the age of fourteen, when she enrolled in the newly founded Institute of American Indian Arts High School. Her instructors were Allen Houser, Fritz Scholder, Ralph Pardington, and Charles Loloma. While at IAIA she met and married Joel P. McHorse of Taos Pueblo. It was Joel’s grandmother, Lena Archuleta, who taught her to work with micaceous clay; this rare clay high in mica content can be found in the Taos area.

Christine has become one of the most admired and successful Native potters, working with traditional techniques to create reductive, sculptural, contemporary pots. Christine notes: “My interest is in the purity of form….” Her “40 years of experience and technical skills” offer “endless opportunities” for innovation and creativity. This background also instills a confidence in the execution of each work so that its virtuosity is clear even to the untutored eye. There is passion and refinement in Christine’s ceramics that make them both the equal of and complement to the masterpieces of any other culture.

She has received numerous awards from the SWAIA Indian Market, Santa Fe and the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, Gallup, as well as Museum of Northern Arizona.Her work can be found at the Denver Museum of Natural History; Museum of New Mexico; National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution; Navajo Nation Museum; Rockwell Museum of Western Art.

The Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research is honored to welcome Christine McHorse, the first generation of her family to work as a ceramic artist, as the 2006 Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native American Artist Fellow.

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