Helen Bird

  • Prominent Santo Domingo potter
  • Full-time potter for nearly three decades
  • Contributed to revitalization of Santo Domingo pottery

Helen Bird is a renowned Santo Domingo potter who makes elegant vessels in the traditional Santo Domingo style. She was introduced to the art when she was 12 years old by her great-aunt, who brought her along to gather clay from a special hill in their village. Helen has been making pottery professionally since 1991, following a career as an alcohol and substance abuse counselor.

While other Pueblos developed exquisite pottery traditions in the 20th century, Santo Domingo was a notable exception, focusing instead on other art forms like heishi jewelry. Helen was in the vanguard of Santo Domingo potters who reinvigorated the field and raised it to new heights throughout the 1990s and beyond. Today she is one of Santo Domingo’s most prominent pottery artists.

“I talk to each pot,” Helen says. “When it’s almost near completion, I say ‘Whose home are you going to grace? You’re only going to go to someone who really loves you, so be happy. Bless the home that you’re in.’”

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