Handcrafted by one of the foremost potters from Santo Domingo Pueblo, Robert Tenorio, this lovely bird-motif necklace with pottery and baby olive shell heishi beads is a rare treasure.
Each bird was hand-formed and hand-painted, using all-natural pigments and clay gathered from within Santo Domingo Pueblo.
The dark black pigment is made from the Rocky Mountain Bee plant. "We boil the whole plant," Tenorio says. However, he has discovered that boiling almost any kind of plant will produce a black juice. Tenorio prefers the bee plant because in the old days, "It was our people's food, and it's still present in our food. We call it 'wild spinach.'"
- Necklace handcrafted by Robert Tenorio (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
- Natural clay
- Blue turquoise, baby olive shell
- Hook and eye closure
- Necklace measures 28-1/8” long x 2-1/2” wide
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
Robert Tenorio (b. 1950) of Santo Domingo (Kewa Pueblo) is one of the foremost Pueblo potters working today, and has played an extremely important role in reviving and bringing attention to the legacy of Santo Domingo pottery. He first learned the fundamentals of working with clay from family members at the age of 10, including his grandmother Andrea Ortiz. Today he is known for his polychrome pots created in the traditional Santo Domingo style, which typically features a red base and interior, and black designs painted on a buff background.
Tenorio is particularly known for his large vessels with striking geometric and nature designs inspired by centuries-old Santo Domingo pottery. All of his pots are constructed by hand using the traditional coil method, and fired outdoors in an open kiln using cottonwood bark as fuel. Tenorio’s pigments are also created from natural organic materials, including Rocky Mountain Bee Weed.
Tenorio studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and has won numerous awards at Santa Fe Indian Market and other prestigious Native arts shows.
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.