Kentucky Tourism
Black Bear

LeBoueff, Stephen — Black Bear

Morehead, KY


earthenware pottery, Native American

A member of the Blackfoot Tribe of MT, Black Bear now lives in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. He is an accomplished potter who has shown and won awards in such places as the Santa Fe Indian Market, NM; Heard Museum Indian Market, AZ; Northern Plains Tribal Arts, SD; and the Eiteljorg Indian Market, Indianapolis, IN.


Black Bear learned the use of clay from the Naranjo family of Santa Clara Pueblo in NM. Rose Naranjo the matriarch, taught him the importance of hard work and good form and how to use traditional materials

and techniques.


Black Bear’s clay is gathered from the earth by hand and mixed with volcanic ash or mica. All vessels are made from native clays of New Mexico and Kentucky. Each piece is created from rolled coils of clay which are then joined and smoothed into pleasing and voluminous forms. The entire piece is then covered with a mixture of very fine clay particles and water. This thin clay slip coating is then burnished or polished with a stone.


Black Bear uses a small wood-fired kiln to finish off his work. Some of the colors and patterns on the finished pieces are created by the flames in the kiln.


Works by Black Bear can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.