Two Charming San Ildefonso Pots ca 1890 - 1910

Friday, February 28, 2020 1:36 PM

Two Charming San Ildefonso Pots ca 1890 - 1910

The Anasazi, or “Ancestral Puebloans” as contemporary anthropologists refer to them created pottery for utilitarian uses beginning about 200 A.D. They cooked in it, stored food in it, ate and drank from it. And, as anyone who has spent much time looking at the pottery from Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon or any of the early living sites of the early inhabitants knows, they spent an inordinate amount of time and effort decorating these vessels with beautiful designs. 

As the need for utilitarian vessels declined, replaced by pots, pans and modern storage containers, the production of handmade pottery declined. 

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You Can Discover Mesa Verde on Horseback!

Saturday, July 27, 2019 11:22 AM

You Can Discover Mesa Verde on Horseback!

Years ago, my sister published a print from a painting by Western artist Jim Rey that depicted early explorers, with their horses, staring down at Cliff Palace. Richard Wetherill, an area cowboy, is widely credited with having “discovered” the ruins, but likely, early explorers beat him to it. He was the first to realize the archeological importance of the find.

Today, Cliff Palace is the crown jewel of Mesa Verde National Park, the only national park dedicated to the works of man rather than the works of nature. In addition to the ruins, there are miles and miles of open country in the Park that is seldom seen.

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A Nacimiento made by Legendary Potter Helen Cordero

Sunday, August 12, 2018 12:00 PM

A Nacimiento made by Legendary Potter Helen Cordero

In New Mexico, Nativity Sets, Creche or manger scenes made by Pueblo Indians depicting the birth of Christ, are commonly known as Nacimientos. That is because of the predominantly Hispanic culture in the area and the fact that the Christianization of the Pueblo people was a result of the Spanish settlers. It’s not a real pretty story, but as times evolved, the Catholic faith has become intermingled with the lives of the Pueblo people.

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Blue Corn and My First Experience with Pueblo Pottery

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 11:56 AM

Blue Corn and My First Experience with Pueblo Pottery

In the early 1970’s, I was traveling around the West selling Navajo rugs and Indian jewelry to Indian theme shops, museum stores and National Park outlets.

Several customers in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado asked me if I could obtain Pueblo pottery for them. It was becoming more popular and there was a boom in anything Native American.

I did not know anything about pottery, so I called Suzanne Helzer who owned the Deer Dancer Gallery in Denver. She said, “Go and see Richard Spivey in Santa Fe. He only sells the best.

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Maria and Julian Plates

Thursday, June 1, 2017 6:48 PM

Maria and Julian Plates

Today we are going to share a set of plates made by Maria and her husband, Julian, that are really unique. How unique? Well, what would you think if I told you that Maria made several sets of plates that were intended to be used as dinnerware?

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Works of a Master Potter from Santa Clara Teresita Naranjo, “Apple Blossom

The process of creating Santa Clara, or any other traditional Pueblo pottery, is exacting and challenging. From locating the clay source, digging it out of the ground, cleaning it, creating the pot by hand using the coil method, carving or painting designs on the pot, polishing it and then firing it under a pile of Pinon or sheep manure, it is a long process.


If everything is not done correctly, the pot may break when fired. If the wind comes up, the finish will not be perfect. It is difficult to make a simple basic pot, but creating a unique, elegant and technically perfect pot is very, very challenging. It is for these reasons that so few potters reach that level of artistry.

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What's that Navajo girl doing making Hopi pots?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 4:51 PM

What's that Navajo girl doing making Hopi pots?

If you study the history of the Southwestern tribes, you’ll find that the Hopi and Navajo have not always been the best of buddies. Some of the animosity is long term, going back to ancient days, and some of it relates to more recent times. 

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From Jewelry to Pottery The road from Zuni to Cochiti with the Covered Wagon in the Middle

Ben Eustace was born into the Zuni Pueblo sometime in the 1920’s. He became a well known silversmith who was essentially self taught. He did something unusual in the 1970’s when he registered a leaf design with the copyright office. His family still uses that style today.

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Stella Shutiva (1939-1997), Acoma Potter

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 3:37 PM

Stella Shutiva (1939-1997), Acoma Potter

Stella Shutiva was from the Acoma Pueblo which is West of Albuquerque off of I-40 near Grants, New Mexico. Potters from prehistoric sites in the southwest created pottery that had a corrugated look and feel. The outside of the pot is textured in rows where the coils circle the pot. Stella's mother, Jessie Garcia, is credited with being the first person to recreate this unique style.

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Storytelling to 112 Children

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 1:51 PM

Storytelling to 112 Children

Carolyn Sando, of Jemez Pueblo, has been a great friend and one of our favorite artists since she attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, over thirty years ago! It’s hard to believe we’ve known each other for that many years, but it has been a pleasure. She is one of those people whose enthusiasm and smile are contagious! In the fall of every year, she brings us a nice selection of her Nativity sets which are always a big hit. The individual pieces in each set radiate personality and it certainly makes you feel good to look at them. Well, this summer, Carolyn outdid herself and brought in two really nice large storytellers. I am talking large!

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