Barbara McKinney-Elston “(Pahponee) has been working with clay since the 1980s. She is a descendant of the Kickapoo and Potawatomi Nations, originally from the Great Lakes. Her Kickapoo name translates into “Snow Woman.” Pahponee is a self-taught clay artist who has learned the traditional methods of her Woodland culture as well as contemporary pottery techniques. She is proud to be reviving pottery making of the Great Lakes region, bringing exposure to an art form that has not been prevalent in the past century.
Pahponee’s early inspiration to learn about pottery making came from a life changing experience. “I was taken to see a White Buffalo mother and her White calf,” she explains, “ White Buffalo are sacred to our Native people. It was an auspicious occasion to be in their presence.” After their meeting, Pahponee was haunted with an image of the White Buffalo coming out of a pot. “I would see this one specific pot and other beautiful pots in my mind and dreams. But I didn’t know how to make them.” Pahponee was driven to learn everything she could about pottery. Her husband Greg, a trained ceramist, encouraged and advised her with some of his technical knowledge. She also sought Native elders for any knowledge they could impart.” taken from the artist’s website Pahponee.com