This elegantly constructed vase was handmade by award-winning San Ildefonso potter Erik Fender, who builds upon the storied legacy of his mother and grandmother, potters Martha Appleleaf and Carmelita Dunlap.
The innovative color palette of soft-grey matte slip against a highly polished black background creates beautiful geometric designs in relief, which contrast with the textured neck.
The black coloring is created through a reduction firing process in which the pot is smothered during firing, and the grey hue is created from a natural mineral slip.
Known for his skill and precision in polishing and painting his vessels, Fender has created a breathtaking work of art that will be treasured for generations.
- Vase handmade by Erik Fender (San Ildefonso Pueblo)
- Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
- Crafted through traditional horizontal coil method
- Geometric designs
- Vase measures 12-1/4” high x 8-3/4” 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.
Erik Fender (Than Tsideh or Sunbird, born 1970) is a highly skilled and creative potter from San Ildefonso Pueblo. His work has been influenced by his mother, Martha Appleleaf, and his grandmother, legendary potter Carmelita Dunlap.
Over the years Fender has worked in a variety of styles both traditional and contemporary, including polychrome, black-on-black, and black-on-red with sgraffito carving. He is also known for his innovative green-on-black and green-on-red vessels. His designs often include traditional feather patterns as well as his own contemporary interpretations of petroglyphs and animal forms.
All of Fender's work is made by hand with clay gathered from San Ildefonso Pueblo and constructed using the traditional coil method. Also a talented painter and sculptor, he has won First Place awards at Santa Fe Indian Market and other prestigious shows.
San Ildefonso Pueblo is best known for its black-on-black style of pottery made famous by legendary potter Maria Martinez. Along with her husband Julian, Maria pioneered this style that combines matte and polished black surfaces around 1920, drawing upon pottery artifacts being excavated at the time from ancient Pueblo sites. They shared their techniques with the rest of San Ildefonso, which energized the economic and cultural life of this small Pueblo.
Today, San Ildefonso black-on-black vessels are extremely valuable and one of the most recognized forms of Pueblo pottery in the world. In the 20th century, San Ildefonso potters became known for their originality, innovating new designs and shapes. Along with Santa Clara, they were among the first potters to carve designs into the clay rather than painting upon the surface, a huge shift in style that had a tremendous impact on the Pueblo pottery world.
In addition to blackware, contemporary San Ildefonso artists also create beautiful redware and polychrome style pottery. Though San Ildefonso is a small Pueblo, their potters have had an enormous impact on the development of modern Pueblo pottery, and their work continues to be highly valued and collected today.
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 40 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.