Jemez Pottery

One of the questions I get most is, ‘Can I use this pottery?’

In the words of my 7th grade art teacher, ‘Unless you like cleaning up mud on your mom’s carpet, don’t put water in this pottery.’  In other words – the pottery we have at Explores, unless otherwise noted to be certain kinds of ceramics – it’s art.  It’s not functional, it’s a piece of art.

The second question (a much more fun question) I get is, ‘How do they make the art on the pottery?’  It depends on who ‘they’ are.

In Acoma, they use yucca needles to create the small dots you see.  The Navajo use certain knives to carve.  So, it varies and time permitting I’ll write other posts about those.  But, here’s one example:


Looks like paint on the right, huh?  Almost.

It’s plants, flowers, berries – crushed up, pureed, etc., and made into paints.  On the left, you see what it starts off as – it’s just plant matter rubbed into the pottery with fingers, brushes, sticks.  The colors layered on, then the pottery is place in the oven…and by fire, pottery with stunning colors is born.  Many of the artists would tel you even they don’t know what they end product will be, if the art will come out properly – it takes a skilled hand to create the above.

So, there’s your story – when you pick up one of these amazing pieces, you’ll be able to tell an admirer the basis of such gorgeous color and design…and how truly special the piece is.

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