Know Your Pueblo Pottery
We sell a large variety of hand-made pueblo pottery from around New Mexico. The size, thickness, design and color of the pottery depends on which pueblo the artist comes from. The following are a few basic points to remember when distinguishing the style of one pueblo from another:
- Acoma and Laguna
Acoma potters use bright white clay to create off-white pottery with thin walls. You can find pots in polychrome, although Acoma pottery is typically painted with black and terra cotta. Some of the designs you’ll find include rainbows, parrots and geometrics created with fine lines.
Laguna Pueblo pottery is traditionally thicker white pottery with black and terracotta designs. You can find pots with light blues as well. Thin lines are used to draw geometric and large floral patterns. The clay is tempered with sand, rather than old pottery shards. Acoma pottery and Laguna pottery are similar.
Hopi pottery is often buff-colored, which is typically painted with black and red. You’ll find designs such as Migration, Eagle and Butterfly Maiden as well as parrots, roadrunners, rain and lightning.
- San Ildefonso
San Ildefonso potters typically use the black matte on shiny black finish for their pottery. The black-on-black technique was developed by famous San Ildefonso potter Maria Martinez and her husband Julian. You’ll find designs such as the Avanyu, or water serpent, as well as other historic designs.
Jemez pottery is normally buff-colored or red unfinished pottery and the geometric designs are painted in black or etched (incised sgraffitto).
- Santa Clara
Much like San Ildefonso, Santa Clara is also known for its black-on-black pottery. Pottery from Santa Clara is thicker than pottery from San Ildefonso, and the designs are deeply carved. You’ll also find buff-colored clay painted with black and terra cotta. Designs include Avanyu, hummingbirds, dragonflies and floral patterns.
- Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo potters create large, thick-walled pots. The geometric and animal designs are usually painted in black or terra cotta and set against a glossy egg white finish.
Rather than being polished, Zia pottery is usually created with a softly-sanded, buff background. The designs such as Sky band, Zia sun symbols, Zia bird and geometric patterns are painted in black or terra cotta.
Zuni pottery is often brown-, black- or red-painted designed over a white or buff background. Designs can include lizards, deer, frogs and tadpoles, Zigzag and Avanyu, which suggest the importance of water to the people of Zuni.
The above points are only the basics. If you see a pot on our site or in our store, we are here to answer all of your questions! All you have to do is ask.