Photography
© Ely Abrums and Laura Walker

Helen Cordero (1915-1994)

Helen (Quintana) Cordero (1915-1994)

She is mostly known for her storytellers, but we honor her pottery as well. She began her artistic career by sewing beadwork on leather. She saw “everyone making beautiful things around her so she wanted to do something too”. Her friend suggested that she try pottery making, but she found it was not very easy and was not often satisfied with her results. Her friend, Juanita Arquero, taught pottery making in a school in Bernalillo NM, where some one planted the seed in her by asking about the historic Cochiti figures. Helen today is credited as the originator of the Storyteller, a popular figure with a grandmother or grandfather telling stories to their grandchildren.

Helen Cordero is the granddaughter of Santiago Quintana and Megdelena Quintana; daughter of Mr. Quintana and Coroline Quintana-Pecos; sister of Trinidad Herrera; wife of Fred Cordero; mother of Dolores Peshlakai, Jimmy Cordero, Antonita “Toni” Suina, George Cordero, Leonard Trujillo (adopted); grandmother of Buffy Cordero, Tim Cordero, Tia Cordero, Kevin Peshlakai, Ivan Trujillo, Evon Trujillo, Robert Trujillo, Jeanette Trujillo, Del Trancosa.

More information can be found in the following publication:
Southern Pueblo Pottery: 2,000 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf, pg. 102


Pieces