ClayHound Web - Santa Clara Pueblo

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Santa Clara Pueblo Pottery

  1. Bowl - Donneria Gutierrez

  2. Bowl - Angela Baca

  3. Wedding Vase - Phyllis Tafoya

  4. Owl Effigy - Margaret & Luther Gutierrez

  5. Bird Effigy - unsigned

  6. Owl Effigy - Kathy Silva (JoPovi)

  7. Owl Effigy - Dorothy Gutierrez

  8. Golf Ball - Gloria Garcia (Goldenrod)

  9. Squirrel Effigy - Jennifer Naranjo

  10. Jar - Margaret & Luther Gutierrez

  11. Golf Ball - Mae Tapia

  12. Bowl - Denise Chavarria

  13. Bowl - Angela Baca

  14. Jar - Lois Gutierrez

  15. Swan Effigy - Betty Cain

  16. Bird Effigy - Anita Suazo

  17. Bird miniature - Margarits Naranjo

  18. Bird Effigy - Paul & Dorothy Gutierrez

  19. Mini Bowl - Jennifer Sisneros

  20. Squirrel miniature - Margarits Naranjo

  21. Bird Effigy - Douglas Tafoya

  22. Bowl - Minnie Vigil

  23. Duck Effigy - Margaret Gutierrez

  24. Jar - unsigned (not shown)


Santa Clara Pueblo is located in North-central New Mexico and its pottery is characterized by its black and red surfaces, although a few artists make polychrome pieces.  There's a long lineage of artists and artist families who are highly prolific.

In the late classical period, up to about 1900, a great many excellent vessels were made at Santa Clara, all fired with the smudging technique that produces a fine black surface color. Departures from tradition are seen especially in the sculptural details that embellish a vessel. The rim is often rippled or fluted; the neck also may be rippled, with vertical or spiral carvings; and the mid body bulge may be sculptured. Especially distinctive is the "bear paw" sculpture, almost a Santa Clara trademark, which first appeared on vessels made in the latter half of the nineteenth century. This simple footprint motif is usually placed on jars in sets of three or more with no other decoration....Another ceramic form from Santa Clara is the wedding vase, which is a double-spouted jar with connecting handle.

Santa Clara is a Tewa tribe located twenty-five miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico on the west bank of the Rio Grande. Santa Clara has more potters than any other pueblo. They produce various styles, types, colors and sizes ranging from large traditional ollas to fine incised miniatures. Almost all of the pottery made today is signed.

Santa Clara mainly uses the black-on-black style of pottery, a decoration that comes only from the high polish given to the black surface by painstaking rubbing. A common decoration is the bear paw design which is made by pressing a five-pointed mark into the soft clay.

Since 1930 women have been experimenting with designs of matte (lusterless) black on polished black like those first made at the San Ildefonso pueblo. There are two vessel shapes that are distinctly Santa Clara: the wedding jar; a double-necked jar with two mouths connected by a handle, and a high necked wide mouthed jar with a squat body.

Santa Clara is also known for the black animal figurines that are molded, not coiled.

The Pueblo of Santa Clara was established around 1550 in its current location when a drought forced their ancestors to move into the Rio Grande Valley. The people of Santa Clara can trace their ancestry to the occupants of a cliffside village known as the Puye Cliff Dwellings. The stunning ruins were built alongside a cliff face in the Santa Clara Canyon and are open to visitors year round. The Pueblo itself is located about a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) south of Espaņola.

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