Simplicio, Noreen

“I cherish the gift that Mother Earth gave me. I am able to share my talent and gifts through my works. I have met many wonderful people. I am very proud. I feel good about my pottery. I enjoy having my hands in clay!!!” – statement from Noreen

A daughter of Mike and Carmelita Simplicio born into Zuni Pueblo in 1964, Noreen Simplicio says her love affair with clay began as a little girl making mud pies and mud pots. When she was old enough, she enrolled in the ceramics classes taught by Jennie Laate at Zuni High School. From the moment she first touched Jennie’s clay she knew she wanted to be a potter for the rest of her life. A few years later she studied some with Angelina Medina, an award-earning Zuni/Acoma sculptor and potter.

Noreen entered her first pottery competition in 1988 and earned an Award of Excellence. That August she was a featured New Artist at the Santa Fe Indian Market. In 1989 she entered six pieces in the pottery competition at Santa Fe. She earned 4 First Place ribbons, a Second Place ribbon and a Third Place ribbon.

In 1990 Jennie Laate retired from teaching at Zuni High and Noreen assumed the job for 2 years before passing the torch to Gabriel Paloma. In that 2 year period she taught more than 100 Zuni students how to make traditional Zuni pottery.

Since then Noreen has earned many awards at venues like the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Gallup InterTribal Ceremonial and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts Fair & Market. She earned Best of Division ribbons at the Heard Museum twice (2003 and 2005) for her miniatures.

Noreen makes polychrome white ware and orange ware cornmeal bowls, jars, seed pots, effigy pots, lizard bowls, figurines and miniatures. Her favorite designs include fine line, lizards, deer-in-his-house, tadpoles, salamanders, birds, feathers, terraced clouds, rain and carved village scenes.

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