skip to Main Content

Hopi-Tewa Pottery

In this workshop, you will explore the traditional Hopi-Tewa method of creating polychrome pottery. This method includes coil building with Hopi gray or yellow clay, sanding, burnishing with riverbed stones, designing and painting pots with natural pigments utilizing handmade paint brushes. Finally, you will learn to traditionally fire your pieces in open-air kilns using sheep dung as a heating source.

Traditional Hopi-Tewa pottery stems from the unique legacy of its makers, who originated from New Mexico and settled at First Mesa on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona. Pieces were created initially for utilitarian purposes and today are bespoke vessels of expression of traditional life on Hopi-Tewa Land.

Your instructors will provide all the hand-sourced and prepared materials needed to produce clay, natural paints, and tools from Hopi Land in Arizona. Over the week, you will have time to create up to three small to medium-sized pieces of pottery in this careful examination of the delicate process of Hopi-Tewa pottery making and learn about the cultural foundation from which the art is inspired.

  • Small portable lamp (clamp is best)
  • Seat cushion


  • Introductions
  • History of how Hopi-Tewa Pottery and its reintroduction back to the Hopi/Tewa people.
  • Demo – how to make clay by hand
  • Demo – hand coiling technique
  • Students will begin to mold pottery


  • Continue hand coiling pottery, 9 am – 12 pm
  • Start drying pottery
  • Sketch out designs


  • Sand and level pottery with sandpaper
  • Start polishing/burnishing pottery with riverbed stones


  • Continue polishing/burnishing
  • Start designing on pots in pencil
  • Demo – creating hematite/Beeweed paint and other clay/slip colors.


  • Continue painting pots
  • Start preheating pottery


  • 6 am – Start firing pottery
  • Noon – Open fire pit
  • After pots cool, the class will end

Dorothy Ami (Hopi-Tewa) is from the village of Polacca at First Mesa in Arizona. She began practicing the art of Hopi-Tewa pottery 30 years ago under her cousin and innovator in Hopi pottery, Mark Tahbo. She later went on to win several awards in competitions, including the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Annual Hopi Show, the NAU Road Scholar Program, and other private organizations. Dorothy and her husband Emerson Ami have been featured in many publications, including Talking with Clay in the 21st Century and Hopi Tiles. In 2001, she was featured in the SWAIA Magazine as one of the top 10 artists to see at the Santa Fe Indian Market. Dorothy Ami is also the founder and owner of Smoking Trails Arts & Crafts, specializing in Hopi-Tewa Arts and Crafts.

Facebook: Smoking Trails Arts & Crafts

Native American & Inland Empire Teacher Scholarships 

Generous donors have made scholarships and fellowships for adult workshops available on a limited basis for these specific groups:

  1. Native American Community Leaders, Artists, Members, and Teachers
  2. Inland Empire Teachers, Professors, and Graduate Students

Scholarships include tuition, dorm housing, and all meals provided by the campus dining service.

Scholarship Details: 

  1. Native American Community Members, Leaders, Artists, and Teachers
    For adults 19 and older with current tribal affiliation, the scholarship brings community leaders, artists, members, and teachers to workshops at Idyllwild Arts to benefit both the scholarship recipients themselves and those in their schools or tribal communities. Applicants with financial needs may receive priority. We also offer scholarships for Native American Teens for both the Summer Program and the Academy.
  2. Inland Empire Teachers, Professors, and Graduate Students
    For teachers and graduate students from the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and the adjacent areas), this scholarship brings teachers and graduate students to Idyllwild Arts to attend Native American Arts workshops. The Native American Arts Workshops benefit both recipients and their students and communities, providing culturally appropriate instruction and professional development to teachers and graduate students. Applicants with financial needs may receive priority. These scholarships are made possible through the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians.

Click here for more information about adult scholarships.

Age: 19 years and above

Dates: June 19-24, 2023
One-week session – includes Saturday 6 am firing

Tuition, room, and board: $1,866

Day student tuition: $840

Lab Fee: $80 includes clays, natural paint pigments, firing materials, use of a personal set of tools

Skill Level: All levels

Enrollment is limited to 12 students.

Faculty: Dorothy Ami and Emmerson Ami

Back To Top