Debra was born in Espanola, just outside the Pueblo. She has lived her whole life in Santa Clara, but she spent her summers with her grandparents in Manitou Springs, Colorado. They were the caretakers of the Cliff Dwellings Museum. Her grandparents spoke only Tewa to her. Debra started making pottery in 1979. Her mother, Genevieve Gutierrez was her main teacher. Debra had been the Secretary to the Dean at the Institute of American India Arts in Santa Fe, but now she is a full time potter. All her work is made in the most traditional ways .She specializes in highly polished seed bowls with the most intricate, detailed etching of designs. She mixes and combines slips to make her pots black and red. Using cord wood, cow, and horse manure, she fires her pieces right behind her house. Her exquisite carvings are made with sharply pointed scribes, cut from the handles of chain-saw files. She often carves turtles, hummingbirds, sun-faced designs, clouds, and Kiva steps. I think her SGRAFFITO techniques allow her to create some of the nicest pieces of pottery available today. She is married to Preston Duwyenie, the well known Hopi potter.
Preston is an accomplished artist in several medias – ceramics, metalwork, jewelry, and painting. His pottery often combines traditional techniques with contemporary shapes. Preston has said, “I want to establish cultural innovations offering alternatives in artist expression with experimentation in various techniques and media.”
His Hopi name is Lomaiquilvaa–Carried in Beauty. This name was given to him after a relative had carried the sleeping boy home late at night following his initiation ceremony. How appropriate that name has become his hallmark. Born in Hotevilla, the third of three mesas on which the Hopi people have lived for centuries, Duwyenie grew up with beauty all around him. “Everyone has an art. My mother was a basket weaver, my father a Katsina carver. You grow up learning how to make art.”