Native-American pottery steeped in family tradition
A characteristic of Native-American pottery is the tradition of family potters. The art of handcrafting and firing clay objects has been passed down through generations, averting the danger of its dying out.
This tradition is noted in several dozen 20th-century pieces that comprise a collection to be sold April 30, 2016 by Last Chance by LiveAuctioneers.
The following are remarkable examples offered in the auction:
Maricopa pottery bowl
The Maricopa people lived in small bands along the lower Gila and Colorado rivers in what is now Arizona. The pottery is distinguished by its dark red color.
Beginning in 1937, Maricopa Pottery experienced a revival attributed to the encouragement of Elizabeth Hart, a U.S home extension agent. She noted that the pottery made after 1912 showed a decline in craftsmanship. The pieces of that era were products of tourism, a demand for a cheap low-quality souvenir. Regional and local museums along with concerned supporters like Hart worked with the local Maricopa potters, headed by Ida Redbird, to establish the Maricopa Pottery Cooperative. The goal was to build a retail market for their work.
While the maker of this bowl is unknown, it bears nice markings of the era. It measures 4 1/2 inches high by 7 1/2 inches in diameter.
Acoma pottery jar
Acoma Pueblo is a Native American pueblo approximately 60 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Pueblo pottery is made using a coiled technique that came into northern Arizona and New Mexico from the south some 1,500 years ago. Acoma pottery is made of dense local clay, which is shaped, painted and fired. Geometric patterns are traditional designs.
This large polychrome olla is signed B.D. Garcia, who has been creating traditional Acoma pottery for more than 40 years. Beverly Garcia has passed that tradition on to her children, Katherine Victorino and Mervin Victorino, who are also well known for their skills as Acoma potters.
Zia Pueblo pottery jar
Zia Pueblo is located in Sandoval County in northern New Mexico. Zia pottery features geometric designs with plant and animal motifs on a white ground. Zia Pueblo potter Candelaria Gachupin (b. 1908) made this diminutive pottery jar (below) in the mid-20th century at the peak of her career. A member of the Coyote Clan, she made traditional polychrome jars and dough bowls.
From a long line of Zia Pueblo potters, Candelaria was the granddaughter of Rosalea Medina Toribio, daughter of Maria Bridgett, wife of Antonio Gachupin, mother of Dora Gachupin Tse-pe, Frances Gachupin, Irene Gachupin, Joan Aragon, Steven Gachupin and Bernard Gachupin.
Zuni frog pot with tadpoles
The Pueblo of Zuni, on the Zuni River in western New Mexico, is 34 miles south of Gallup.
Erma Kalestewa made this Zuni pot in the 1980s, which features a three-dimensional frog and tadpole design. The 3-inch-tall pot is signed “E. Kalestewa.” Erma Kalestewa Homer is the daughter of Zuni potter Juanita Kalestewa. She learned the traditional method of making pottery from her mother and produced all the various styles and figures of Zuni tradition. She is best known for her owls, the owl being the Zuni version of a storyteller. It’s said that Kalestewa’s bowls ring like a bell when tapped.
Santa Clara carved pottery jar
Santa Clara Pueblo, established about 1550, is located in Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico.
Stella Chavarria (b. 1939) made this classic deep carved blackware bowl with simple repeating stepped figure in the 1970s. She is the daughter of famed Santa Clara potter Teresita Naranjo, who died in 2000. Chavarria’s work is concentrated on decorations depicting the Avanyu (serpent protector of Pueblo People), feathers and swirls. She makes primarily blackware. She has two daughters who share in her style, Denise Chavarria and Sunday Chavarria.
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