Lucy Leuppe McKelvey
McKelvey is a self-taught Navajo potter who received instruction and guidance from Hopi-Tewa friends. Throughout her illustrious career, she was intent and succeeded in establishing her work as fine art. She utilizes decades old techniques and all natural materials. Her contemporary designs are adapted from sand paintings, rugs, baskets, and pottery from the ancient ruins that are numerous in the area where she grew up. And just as she learned from those who came before her, McKelvey has passed on her knowledge to her daughters who are also fine potters.
Whirling Rainbow Goddesses of Windway Chant
Artist: Lucy Leuppe McKelvey (b.1951)Description: Clay Pottery | Dimensions: 7”h x 12”d
Following her service as an LDS missionary for the Southwest Indian Mission working with her own people, Lucy Leuppe McKelvey graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education and Indian Studies. Subsequently she taught for many years on the Navajo Reservation, kindergarten through Junior High, and participated as an artist in residence at elementary schools in the Four Corners area.
Primarily a self-taught potter, McKelvey has spent nearly forty years working to elevate Navajo pottery making into a fine art form that goes beyond tradition yet still uses traditional native materials and methods. She is known for making large, polychrome pots in a variety of shapes that are painted with extraordinary detail. Most of McKelvey’s work tells a story and contains design inspiration from the ancients, ceremonial sand paintings, baskets, and rugs which are then creatively and uniquely made her own. During the last few years, she has reduced the number of shows in which she participates and primarily attends Santa Fe and Heard Museum Indian Markets as well as the Totah Festival (Farmington NM).
Mother Earth & Father Sky
Artist: Lucy Leuppe McKelvey (b.1951)Description: Pottery | 10"h x 10"d
“The whole philosophy of Navajo culture is one of beauty and harmony. That is what I am doing with my pots; this is what my girls are doing. We are creating Navajo beauty from Navajo materials. Everything you see on a pot has come from Mother Earth, from the clay to the paint - everything. The pots don’t look like traditional Navajo pots, but the uses for those are not needed as much today. There is always a need for beauty, especially Navajo beauty,” shared Lucy Leuppe McKelvey.