Helen Bird Pueblo Pottery MugItem No: 9212
A Shumakolowa Native Arts exclusive! This unique café-style ceramic mug is a replica of a single beautiful clay pot handcrafted by Helen Bird of Santo Domingo Pueblo. Helen has incorporated a traditional Pueblo bird and flower design throughout the pottery.
Helen was inspired by pots that were excavated from Bandelier National Park. When people ask Helen if the bird design is a quail or something else, Helen responds, smiling: “It’s a Helen bird, I tell them.”
- Collectible tall café style mug
- Based on original by artist Helen Bird (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
- Cup measurements: 6" H x 4-1/2" L x 3-1/4" W
- 18 oz
- Dishwasher safe
- Microwave safe
The mugs are designed by Pueblo artists from New Mexico, and printed in the USA on imported ceramics.
Helen Bird is a renowned Santo Domingo potter who makes elegant vessels in the traditional Santo Domingo style. She was introduced to the art when she was 12 years old by her great-aunt, who brought her along to gather clay from a special hill in their village. Helen has been making pottery professionally since 1991, following a career as an alcohol and substance abuse counselor.
Santo Domingo is most known for its beautiful heishi necklaces handcrafted from shell and gemstones, but the Pueblo also has a long and distinguished tradition of beautiful handmade pottery.
The pottery of Santo Domingo can appear simpler in form and design than the work of other Pueblos, with artists often specializing in larger forms like ollas and dough bowls. The traditional Santo Domingo style features brown, black, or red designs on a buff background, often with a red base, though red-on-black and blackware pots are also made today.
Santo Domingo vessels are most easily distinguished from pottery of other Pueblos by their large, blocky, and often symmetrical designs. The Pueblo is one of the most conservative, and painting realistic animals, human figures, or other sacred symbols on pottery is discouraged. Common designs include flowers, geometric motifs such as circles and scalloped patterns, and stylized birds and animals. Today there are a number of skilled Santo Domingo potters creating elegant traditional pots, carrying on the legacy of an ancient and beautiful craft.
The most celebrated and recognized art form of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico is pottery. Pueblo pottery is known around the world for its remarkable beauty and craftsmanship. It has been made in much the same way for over a thousand years, with every step of creation completed by hand.
Pueblo potters do not use a wheel, but construct pots using the traditional horizontal coil method, or freely forming the shape. After the pot is formed, the artist polishes the piece with a natural polishing stone, such as a river stone, then paints it with a vegetal, mineral, or commercial slip. Finally, the pot is fired in an outdoor fire or kiln using manure or wood as fuel.
Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Jemez, and Acoma Pueblos have distinctive pottery styles that are especially prized by collectors, but accomplished potters are working in all Pueblos.
Today, Pueblo pottery is an exciting and dynamic form, with many artists pairing traditional techniques with innovative and stylized designs. Those potters who continue to create pots using traditional methods possess an extraordinary level of skill, and their pots are highly valuable works of fine art that will be enjoyed for generations to come.Read our Native American Pottery Collector's Guide.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes, and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase, and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer.
At a time when many commercially made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.