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About the Artist
(1915-1994) This Cochiti potter was in her mid forties when she began making figurative clay sculptures in the late 1950's. Previously she had worked with beads and leather fashioning items to make extra income. A well known folk art collector, Alexander Girard encouraged Helen to make her "little people". In response to Girard's interest, she reflected on her grandfather, Santiago Quintana, a man known for his storytelling ability. Quintana became her inspiration for all the male storytellers she created.
By 1964 Cordero's storyteller sculptures were awarded first, second and third prizes at the New Mexico State Fair. The following year one of her storytellers won first prize at the Santa Fe Indian Market. Her reputation with respect to her pottery sculptures continued to grow beyond the United States. Her repertoire grew to include nativity scenes, singing mothers, a drummer, a pueblo father, a nightcrier, a water carrier, a Hopi maiden, an owl, a turtle, a praying storyteller, a Navajo storyteller and a children's hour.
To read more about the development of clay figurines, The Pueblo Storyteller by Barbara A. Babcock and Guy and Doris Monthan is recommended.