Carlos Laate, Zuni Potter

Carlos Laate was born into Zuni Pueblo in 1962, son of Etta Lynn and Lydatie Laate. He was inspired to make pottery by his grandmother, Daisy Hooey Nampeyo, and his aunt, Jennie Laate. Both women had taught pottery making at Zuni High School and are credited as being the impetus for the rebirth of the contemporary Zuni pottery tradition. He learned about traditional gathering, tempering, hand coiling and plant and mineral based pigments in his creations.

Carlos has been making pottery since the late '80s. He uses many of the old Zuni shapes (water jars, pitchers, owl effigies) and designs in his work. He has studied collections of ancient pots in museums, and with his father worked many years in the high mesa forests. Here he learned about and began his lifelong love and respect for turkeys, deer, birds and other wildlife, which are incorporated into his designs.

Carlos also studies the potsherds near his Zuni Pueblo, and remembers clearly what his grandparents taught him about what symbols mean. This kind and gracious man states, “My elders taught me that the designs we see in our pottery are prayers we use, as we make the pottery, and prayers we say everyday for all people, for a good life and longevity.” 

Wife Roxanne Seoutewa, a fine silversmith, patiently explain their process, tools, and the precious resource of clay beds to visitors who may be lucky enough to go on the Zuni Pueblo Art Walk. You can see many of the artists of this pueblo when you visit, and know that the MADE IN ZUNI campaign ensures you are getting authentic art.

Carlos has participated in many shows and won awards for everything from Best of Show (Twin Arrows Casino Resort, AZ) to Honorable Mention and Acquisition Awards to 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place ribbons in shows at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market (Phoenix, AZ), Charlotte Hall (Prescott, AZ), Northern Arizona Museum (Flagstaff), and the Litchfield Park Native American Arts Festival (Litchfield Park, AZ). His work is also on display at the Utah Natural History Museum, University of Kansas-Lawrence, Tucson Museum of Art and the Heard Museum.