This pitcher was handmade by Ohkay Owingeh artist Clarence Cruz using traditional methods. Created from micaceous clay, this pot is a utilitarian piece that can be used for cooking and storage. Whether used as a functional piece or an elegant addition to your fine art collection, this pitcher is a timeless example of an ancient art form.
The simplicity of the pottery reflects the tradition utilitarian pottery is known for, where the natural shimmer of mica shines through in place of applied decoration.
- Pitcher handmade by Clarence Cruz (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo)
- Natural micaceous clay
- Crafted through traditional horizontal coil method
- Pitcher measures 5-1/2” high x 8-1/4” long x 9-1/2” 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.
Clarence Cruz is a traditional pottery artist who incorporates incised designs in the typical Ohkay Owingeh micaceous clay styles. He is known for using traditional methods to make authentic museum-quality pottery. When gathering natural clay, constructing the pots by hand, and firing outdoors, each step calls upon tradition to form unique and brilliant pieces. Cruz uses three firing methods: an open firing where the flames are allowed to touch the pots, an enclosed firing where the flames do not touch the pots, and a reduction firing where the pots are turned black. Cruz has a BFA and MFA in Art Studio from the University of New Mexico, and has been an instructor at UNM, Santa Fe Community College, Northern New Mexico Collection, and in Native communities.
The traditional style of Ohkay Owingeh pottery is a polished red and black pottery similar to that of Santa Clara. By the late 19th century, traditional pottery-making in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo had nearly died out. In the 1930s, a group of potters led by Regina Cata revived a historic style of pottery from the 15th century based on artifacts uncovered at a nearby ancestral site called Potsuwi’i. This revival style was called Potsuwi’i Incised Ware, and vessels in this style have a highly polished red-slip base and rim, and a central portion of unpolished tan clay that is carved with geometric designs – typically a pattern of fine parallel lines.
The Potsuwi’i Incised Ware is unique to Ohkay Owingeh, and today is considered the Pueblo’s traditional pottery form. Today, many potters have developed variations on the Potsuwi’Ii style by using new color palettes or carving sgraffito designs, including the avanyu, feathers, and scalloped patterns. Micaceous-clay pottery similar to that of Taos and Picuris Pueblos has also been revived.
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.