Born in 1953, Thomas Natseway is one of eleven children. His parents were Betty and Pete Natseway from the Laguna Pueblo. His father was a pipefitter, and the family moved to Dallas, where Thomas spent eleven years. Thomas worked as a journalist in the early 1980s. While interviewing the Acoma potter, Charmae Shields, he fell in love, married, and moved to Acoma Pueblo. They moved into Charmae’s mothers (Ethel Shields) home in Acoma. Thomas credits Charmae and her mother for teaching him the traditional way of making pottery. They taught him all the fundamentals of constructing handmade pottery using the ancient traditional hand coiling.
Thomas makes amazing miniature replicas of Native American pottery. He gathers all the raw clays and natural vegetation from within the Acoma and Laguna Pueblo. He breaks down the raw clumps into a fine powder from and hand mixes with water. Once the clay is mixed to a fine medium, he begins rolling out the moist clay into snake like coils and begins building the desired forms. His pieces are so difficult to construct because a finger usually does not fit inside the lip of the vessels. He hand paints each piece carefully and fires his pottery in a kiln. He signs his pottery as: Thomas Natseway.
Thomas became extremely interested in reproducing miniature prehistoric and historic pottery after researching old Mimbres, Hohokam, Sikyatki and Anasazi pieces. Thomas also uses contemporary design motifs on many of his pieces. His work can be seen in the Denver Art Museum, San Diego Museum of Man, Albuquerque Art Museum, and the Smithsonian Institute. Thomas is certainly one of the finest miniaturists working today.