Theresa Poncho is a fifth generation traditional Acoma Pueblo potter.
A full blooded Acoma tribal member, she learned pottery from her mother, Dora Antonio, and her father, Felix Poncho Sr.
The specific method for this special pottery has been passed down through Theresa's family, and pottery continues to be their primary source of income.
The clay and paint for her seed pots come from the earth. Mining the clay is very difficult and the traditional process takes a great amount of time and skill. Theresa paints her pieces in the traditional way, using the yucca plant as a paint brush. She chews on the plant to remove the green part, leaving the remaining fibers, which are cut down to the desired size for the pattern being painted.
Seed pots get their name from how they were used traditionally -- for seed keeping. During the harvest, the Acoma people would collect seeds for the next year. When planting season came, the men would take the pots full of seeds to the field. If the seed pots were broken along the way, the pieces were saved and used in the process of making new pots.
Traditionally, seed pots had larger openings that were then covered to protect the seeds from bugs and moisture. These days, the holes are much smaller, making the pots very artful and decorative, and they can still be used to store seeds indoors.
Theresa also works in ceramic, including making necklaces and handmade pigs. Her ceramic necklaces come in all colors.
In addition to her art, Theresa has worked as a dental assistant since 2003, supporting her extended family of six.