In 1899 at the age of fifty-six, Josephine Jefferson Foard moved from the East Coast to Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, where she built her own house and a kiln for firing pottery. Her intent was to show Pueblo potters how to strengthen their pottery by using better firing methods and by glazing it on the interior to make it waterproof. She also aimed to assist potters by marketing their products in the East, not just as decorative items but as functional additions to Anglo households.
Through collecting and studying historic pueblo pottery and with access to Foard's correspondence with family and the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, the authors of this book provide a rare glimpse into the life of a remarkable woman who ventured to the Southwest as an artist, potter, and entrepreneur. Foard's letters, included in the appendices, describe at length her experience at Laguna Pueblo and offer insights into her life and work and also the lives of people of Laguna Pueblo and others in New Mexico.