Elizabeth Manygoats

Navajo
Horned toads decorate a wedding vase by Elizabeth Manygoats
 

Born in 1973, Elizabeth Manygoats grew up in a large family in the Tonalea area, near Navajo National Monument in northeastern Arizona. While Elizabeth’s mother (Betty Manygoats) and nine sisters are also potters, Elizabeth is the only one in the family working as an artist full-time.

While her mother and grandmother are famous potters, she says she is a self-trained artist whose work expresses the day-to-day culture in which she lives. A skilled potter who hand makes and fires her pieces by age-old methods, her traditional Navajo pottery is often decorated with horned toads, ears of corn or prickly pear cactus. She also sometimes creates pictorial scenes of daily Navajo life for what she calls her "lifestyle pots." These are much like the designs found on many hand-woven Navajo rugs. The figures and design elements she uses are appliquéd and glazed in lifelike colors. After firing she usually applies the typical Navajo coating of piñon pine pitch to her works.

She often signs her work: "EM" with "Dine'" and sometimes signs as "E. Manygoats" in cursive letters, and sometimes adds the year in which they were made.


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