The People

The people of the Southwest, particularly New Mexico, have much in common with the people of Maine and New England. They share a love and respect for nature, for tradition, for art and fine craftsmanship, creativity and for that which is one-of-a-kind and enduring.

Polishing vessel with a stone. Historical photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

The Pottery

All of the pottery displayed on this site is hand coiled, created without a potter's wheel or the use of any machinery. The colors are derived from plants and minerals. The clay is hand dug from special areas on the pueblos. It is then refined and conditioned by hand. The clay is treated with the greatest reverence as a gift from Mother Earth. Most clay sources are dug by several generations of only one family. Many of these potters use traditional brushes made from the chewed fibers of the Yucca and most all of the pots are fired in wood fires, not kilns.

Historical image of pit firing

Horse or sheep dung is used to create the different coloration of the pots particularly among the Hopi, accounting for the desired 'blushes' on many of their pots. It is extremely labor intensive work and there is a high mortality rate among the pots in this lengthily process. When several pots are fired at the same time, one exploding pot can destroy the work of many days. The larger the pot, the more vulnerable it is to damage or destruction. As with all handmade art, small flaws (such as fire clouds or pitting and minor variations in the slip) are sometimes unavoidable and really do not detract from the beauty or value of the piece.

The Potters

On the following pages are photographs of pottery we presently have available for purchase. The pottery varies in price range, origin, and attributes in the hope that our clients will find the piece of pottery that "speaks to them" as only pueblo pottery can. For these artists, working with clay is their voice and the voice of the Earth coming together as one. When you are surrounded by this work, or holding a pot in your hands, you cannot help but be moved to understand that which we have in common with this pottery; the parallel of our lives with its creation, its shaping, its life, and someday, its final passing - from dust to dust. For pueblo potters, that connection is an essential and traditional part of their lives.

The Investment

Today's Hopi and Hopi-Tewa pottery has its beginnings with a young Tewa woman named Nampeyo (at left, Courtesy Museum of New Mexico), who worked as translator and courier for an archeological expedition at the nearby ruins of the Hopi village of Sityatki in the late 1800s. She re-created some of the Hopi designs in clay using her knowledge of Tewa pottery tradition. Today, the descendants of Nampeyo produce beautiful pottery that can sell for many thousands of dollars and it all began with a creative girl who made and sold pottery for the tourists of the 1890s traveling by train across the Southwest.

San Ildefonso Pueblo, in New Mexico, was the home of Maria and Julian Martinez, who became two of the most famous pueblo potters of the 20th Century. They pioneered the black on black decoration style which became the trademark of San Ildefonso pueblo pottery. They taught their family and others how to create the beautiful black pottery. A 3 3/8 by 4 inch pot by Maria selling for over $5500 today may have originally sold for as little as $30.

The work of many accomplished, contemporary pueblo potters sells for several thousand dollars a piece now, but it was not that long ago their work was purchased for $100 or more, ...or less! Like paintings or sculpture, fine pueblo pottery increases in value and can be seen as an alternative financial investment. It is an investment that affords a person great aesthetic pleasure and spiritual connectivity, as does any fine work of art, and it does increase in value.

One prestigious gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has so much confidence in the equity growth of the pueblo pottery it sells that they offer to buy back any piece of pottery they sell for up to 18 months at the original purchase price because the value of the piece will have grown during that time period.

Some of the potters who created these pots are very accomplished with well-known reputations while others produce excellent, high quality work but have not yet been 'discovered'. All of the pueblo pottery displayed here was made with reverence, hard work, extreme dedication, and as a celebration of the pueblo potters' connection to the Life Spirit and their People.

Mother Earth & the Human Spirit made One!

How to make a Purchase

Acoma • Hopi-Tewa • Jemez • Santa Clara/San Ildefonso
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Earth & The Human Spirit Made One.