The first daughter of Damacia Cordero and Santiago Cordero (Damacia was Santiago's second wife), Josephine Arquero was born into Cochiti Pueblo at the end of 1928, early in the evening of New Year's Eve. She grew up watching her mother fashion the clay figures she became famous for, but Josephine didn't begin to produce pottery herself until she was in her forties. Then in 1980 she earned a 3rd prize ribbon at the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market for one of her creations. At that point she was an established, well-known potter.
Josephine liked making figures: priests, cowboys, tourists, mothers and children, storytellers, Nativities and various animals. Early in her career as a potter she made more traditional matte polychrome jars and bowls.