Cliff’s grandmother was a potter, as are many women at Jemez Pueblo. Her name was Rita Casiquito and she was Corn Clan.
Cliff describes her as a hard-working woman, less than 5 feet tall, who was well respected by her family and her community. She was half Jemez and half Zia but lived in Jemez all her life. She passed along the respect for the traditions of the Jemez people and taught her daughters and granddaughters to create beautiful pottery that is so well known today.
Cliff said that everyone always remembered her birthday because she was born on January 1, 1900. She died at the age of 94.
Gramma is carved from one piece of Utah alabaster that has been cut, refined, textured and sanded to create her various features. Gramma is dressed in traditional Pueblo garb, including a Manta, wrapped moccasins and traditional jewelry. Her hair is traditionally cut and styled into a bun that is wrapped with yarn or a woven hair tie. Cliff uses some images frequently in his work that have specific meanings to him and/or are culturally meaningful.
A portion of Cliff’s distinguished career:
- Sculpture Instructor, Southwest Stone Carving Symposium, Jemez Springs, New Mexico 1996-2015.
- Sculpture Instructor, Pueblo of Jemez Dept. of Education, Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico 1995.
- Art Education Director, Pueblo of Jemez Dept. of Education, Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico 1995.
- Special Projects Coordinator, Pueblo of Jemez Dept. of Tourism, Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico 1993-1994
- Owner, Singing Stone Studio, Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico 1979 – ongoing.
- Permanent collections in numerous locations including: Phoenix City Hall – Phoenix, Arizona and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture – Santa Fe, NM