Felicita was born in 1927 and raised at Cochiti Pueblo. She learned to make traditional pottery and storytellers from her parents. After her marriage during the World War II years, she moved to her husband Ben’s home in Zuni. Ben taught her some basics of jewelry-making. She sold her first ring to legendary Zuni trader C.G. Wallace. Over the years she become and accomplished jeweler in her own right, while developing a large following for her pottery and storytellers. “There are always more orders for my claywork than there’s time to do them,” she said.
The Eustaces show strong respect for the materials and time-honored processes of their art. Felicita still makes her storytellers the traditional way. Her jewelry features an old family design copyrighted in the early 1960s: a domed, natural leave motif in sterling silver alongside a carved, bezeled and polished turquoise stone. Felicita and Ben have passed their respect for quality on to their 13 children, many of whom create their own pottery and jewelry.
Daughter Bernadette Eustace says, “My parents told us that if we were going to do jewelry at all, we would have to do it their way, the right way. It wasn’t the designs they were talking about, it was the technical aspects of our work: setting stones, welds, engravings and so on. They were the ones who would be selling these items for us, so they would make sure that a certain standard of quality was being met.”