The Unique Styles of Pueblo Pottery (Part 2)

In the last article we looked at the styles of most of the Tewa speaking pueblos. There was a large group which shared similar materials and produced a similar type of work but differences demonstrated in each of the separate pueblos. In this part we will be looking at three pueblos each producing distinctly unique work. We will also describe the characteristic pottery styles of the Keres-speaking pueblos.
There are three pueblos who's artists each work in a style unique to the pueblo. Jemez Pueblo has a wide variety of styles. They are the last group to continue creating buff and red slipped ware with buff, white, red, or black designs. They also are unique in the use of the sgraffitto, a technique where carvings are made atop several layers of different colored slips. Designs include clouds, lightening, geometric lines, and symbols. They also create storytellers, clowns, and animal figures.
Hopi pottery is distinguished by the tonal yellow to dark orange surfaces created by both the iron in the clay and the Hopi pit firing technique. Generally the slip is amber with polychrome designs but they might also use white or buff colored slips with black and red designs. They traditionally fashion tall slender vases, wide shallow bowls and small to medium round pots. The designs include stylized birds, kiva steps, and rain symbols.
Work created in the village of Hano and other villages of the first Mesa creates designs in dark paint on beige or tan clay. The figures include eagles, parrots, roadrunners, kiva designs, villages, corn, water, rain and lightning, and sometimes kachina figures.
Zuni pottery is also easily distinguished from other pueblo styles. The clay used is a white to gray and uses a crushed rock temper. They paint their pots with a bright white slip and a dark mineral paint which ranges from a dark brown color to black, which may be accented with a dark red mineral paint. These potters focused mainly on the design motifs more than with symmetry of form. They favored the rain bird, plant and animal forms, and crosshatching. From the late 1800's through mid 1900's three motifs were used almost exclusively; an abstract geometric bird motif, a curvilinear abstracted bird motif, and a heart-line deer with rosettes. They also produce a variety of figures including owls, deer, and humans, and vessels such as kiva bowls with handles, canteens, ollas, and dough bowls.
The Keres-speaking villages include the Acoma, Cochiti, Laguna, Santo Domingo, Santa Ana and Zia Pueblos. The pottery from this group is characterized by the white or buff colored slip and black or brick colored motifs.
The Acoma pots are thin walled and light weight. The white slip is embellished with polychrome designs of rainbows, parrots, flowers and geometrics.
The Cochiti Pueblo works with black on cream forms. Abstract floral designs and rain and cloud motifs are most common. However, they are best known for their pots made in the form of human and animal figures. The Cochiti potter Helen Cordero (1915 -1994) created a new pueblo style in the form of figurines. Her work is a highly prized collectable.
Laguna pottery is very similar to the Acoma pots but slightly thicker due to the use of sand instead of pottery shards for tempering. The distinguishing characteristic of this groups pottery are the large painted interlocking designs that completely encircle the pot.
Cream colored clay, buff slip, and black geometric designs which feature motifs and designs in the negative space, is the specialty of the Santa Domingo Pueblo. The elasticity of the clay in this area allows the creation of very large vessels such as storage jars and dough bowls.
Santa Ana made pottery is a rare find. It was characterized by polychrome designs. Although made in large quantities prior to the 1900's very few pottery pieces survive outside of museums. The art seem to have died out here by the 1920's.
The Zia Pueblo is famous for huge storage jars and dough bowls. The clay differs from the other pueblos in this group in that it becomes a rich red tone when fired. The decorating style consists of polychrome designs on white or orange slip, and depicts abstract floral designs, large birds, and a rainbow band.
The techniques described are characteristic of the past. Contemporary Southwest Artists are combining the traditions of the past with new innovations that advance the art and bring new and exciting techniques that extend the boundaries of the styles known as Pueblo Pottery.

No comments:

Post a Comment