Bernice Suazo-Naranjo Potter

Bernice Suazo Naranjo


  • Renown Potter
  • Originally From Taos Pueblo
  • Known for Sgraffito on Sienna Finish
  • SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market
  • Heard Museum Market
  • Many Other Awards

Bernice Suazo Naranjo is known for her elegant and finely detailed sgraffito carving on a dramatic sienna finish. Both the carving and sienna finish require multiple specialized and time-consuming steps to achieve. With the traditional hand-coiling of the pot, the carving, and the multi-stage outdoor firing process, each piece represents many, many hours of skilled work.

She is originally from Taos Pueblo, and married to Tito Naranjo of Santa Clara Pueblo. She is a sister-in-law of Jody Folwell and Nora Naranjo-Morse. Bernice is also the mother of Caroline Elliot, Dusty Naranjo, and the grandmother of Johnathan Naranjo.

Bernice has won numerous awards for her incised pottery at Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Museum Market.

Bernice has “learned to really respect the clay. And I think that comes natural because we are all raised in an environment so that we’re in tune with nature. It’s a cycle.”*

“When you lose a. pot, you lose yourself. Sometimes you have a special feeling for a pot and you hate to fire it because you are so afraid it will break, but that’s part of the beauty of firing outdoors. You have got to learn to cope with it. I like the idea that not everything is going to survive, because that’s the way it is—part of being a potter.”*

“To me there is a beauty in losing a few pots; there is a beauty in doing the procedure, of going through the whole old traditional way.”*

“When you see the pot come out of the firing, it's unbelievable the high you get because you know that you've done it yourself. It's something that you just created out of nothing, just the Clay, all made by hand.”*

*As quoted in Talking with the Clay: The Art of Pueblo Pottery by Stephen Trimble. Available in-store at Shumakolowa Native Arts.