Monday, October 24, 2011

The Northern Pueblo Tour

 We have been admiring and studying pottery for many days.  Today we set out to meet some of the makers out in the pueblos where they live.

 First on the route is Tesuque Pueblo, a very traditional pueblo with little contact with the outside world.  We got permission to drive through part of the village, but no photos are allowed.  I did take this lovely scene on the road into the pueblo.

 San Juan Pueblo had a bid casino and hotel, but nothing of the old pueblo structures or even a visitor center.  They do have this lovely view of the Rio Grande Valley.
 Pojoaque Pueblo has a visitors center museum with a wonderful gallery on New Mexican pottery.
 This was a lovely structure with a great short diaramic history of the pueblo peoples.
 Several Pojoaque are wonderful sculptresses.
 Santa Clara Pueblo is known for their black pottery. They commonly use the Water Serpent figure in their decorations.
Santa Clara is open to visitors and potters display and sell their wares from their own homes.  Just look for the Open signs.

Corn, his first name, is actually a Zia/Hopi living at Santa Clara.  We had fun talking to him, an old guy with a weathered face.  We bought a small pot from him.
 I didn't get a photo permit here, so I just took a few non-personal photos.  We did go into several gallery homes, and had some wonderful conversations with potters.  One elderly woman was burnishing a pot with an agate stone and worked while we watched.

 The Rio Grande Valley is very scenic.
 The ancestral Santa Clarans lived in cliff dwellings in the edge of the valley.

 San Ildefonso Pueblo is famous for its most noted potter, Maria Martinez.  She revived and perfected the dung fired black on black pottery.
 This wonderful old cottonwood, the grandfather tree, sits in the plaza.

 The view to the river.
 The San Idelfonso emblem is fairly new, derived from a combination of bird features.
 The pueblo museum has displays of Maria and some of her pots, as well as family members of hers, and other famous potters from this village.  In another gallery we watched a video about Maria and the technique of making coil pots, slip glazing them, painting the designs, and then firing them in a juniper/cedar fire covered with cow chips and powdered horse dung.  The cow and horse dung creates the black color.
 Another famous potter of the village is Juan Tofoya.  While he has been gone quite a while, his sister carries on.  We found her in her gallery/home sitting with a pile of powdered clay.  She told us she had just mixed in the volcanic ash and had it ready to add the hot water - after the tourists leave today.  Tomorrow she will be making pots which will then dry in the sun before being decorated and fired.  She was great to talk to.
We had a great day and learned so much.  It was a rich experience!


  1. The views are just spectacular. Thanks for sharing all of this. It was most interesting.

  2. I have one of those black pots-so interesting. I love southwestern decor...thanks for taking me along on your vacation and showing me places I'd like to visit.

  3. Do they ship to Hawaii? I would not want stuff to break in my carry on.

  4. All that blue sky and pottery, you must be in seventh heaven. Love the pictures and the story.

  5. This is so much fun! I'm just loving all your photos. I'm going to have to send a link to your blog to my son in Albuquerque.


I would love to read your comments. Since I link most posts to Facebook, you may comment there if you do not have an account. I have eliminated Anonymous comments due to spammers.