Emily Fragua-Tsosie, Corn Pollen, was born into Jemez Pueblo in 1951. She tells us her mother and grandmother inspired her to learn to hand coil and pinch clay sculptures about the time she turned 12. They encouraged and motivated her to learn the traditional art of working with clay so that she could add to the long lived Jemez Pueblo tradition of constructing art using ancient methods.
She learned where to gather the clay and how to clean, sift and shape it into the forms she wanted. Then she was given designs to learn to paint and how to fire her pottery outdoors. By the late 1960’s she started making her own corn maidens and other sculptures. People have often asked her about her favorite style to make and she often replies, "Everything I create is a favorite piece because I created it."
Emily specializes in storyteller figures and corn maidens. Among the artists in her family she counts well-known potters Leonard Tsosie (her husband), Rose Fragua, Chrislyn Fragua, Bonnie Fragua and Carol Gachupin. She and Leonard also taught their son, Darrick Tsosie, to make pottery and he's become an award-winning maker of animal nativities and storyteller figures. Emily signs her pottery as: E. Fragua Tsosie, Jemez.
Emily has participated in shows like the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show in Espanola, New Mexico (where she's taken home at least one 1st Place ribbon) and the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market (where she's taken home 2nd and 3rd Place ribbons). When we asked her this question about her awards she shook her head and said, "Too many shows, too many ribbons to remember."