Horn Toad Wedding Vase
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BETTY MANYGOATS is one of the most innovative Navajo potters living on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona.
Betty uses Navajo clay from Black Mesa, forming it into coils that wind upward. The clay is smoothed and decorated with the hand built horned toads that have become the hallmark of her work. Each piece that Betty creates is sun dried then placed in an open-pit kiln and covered with cow dung. Cedar is often used as fuel for the kiln. Fireclouds unique to this method of firing occur where the wood ash comes in contact with the clay. Once the firing is complete, warm pinon pitch is applied inside and out giving the piece it’s glossy patina.
The traditional Navajo wedding vase is one of Betty's favorite pieces to create but she is not limited in her scope of imagination or abilities. Betty uses a wide range of motifs and will occasionally hand paint designs for added detail.
Betty’s work has been featured in Santa Fe’s Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and exhibited at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. A superb example of Betty’s work is maintained by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and may be viewed at