Eli was born May 8, 1977 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is the son of the Santa Clara potter, Dolly Naranjo, and the brother of Jody Naranjo. Eli learned how to make pottery from his mother, Dolly. He has been actively working on pottery since 2000. Like the other traditional potters in his family, he makes his own clay, and uses all hand dug slips. His work is hand coiled and fired outside in the traditional method. Eli is well known for his incised work. He carves the designs after firing. He received the Dubin Fellowship from School of American Research in 2005. Eli has been awarded a 1st place ribbon at the Santa Fe Indian Market.
Elijah is from Santa Clara Pueblo and comes from a long line of Santa Clara potters. He works with traditional clays and firing methods to produce black, brown, and red combination pots with sgrafitto designs.
“I began working on pottery in 1999,”ť Elijah explains. “I became interested in pottery because I was amazed by how beautiful it was and is. I tried to make pottery thinking that it would be easy to create such beauty. I have found that it is extremely difficult to create beautiful pottery. In my eyes, I am not artistically gifted at all. I love the challenge of trying to create something that comes so hard to me.”
Before winning the Dubin Fellowship, Elijah spent time at IARC as a volunteer, helping to move the large pieces during IARCâ€s recent renovation of its vaults. As he observed the oversized pieces being moved from one side of the vault to the other, he developed a desire to make large pots, which present difficult challenges to the artist.
Elijah has attended the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Highlands University. The Heard Museum and several galleries in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Denver have shown his work. Elijah will be working at the Dubin Studio from June 16th through August 16th. Please stop by to welcome him or watch him work.