This handmade miniature clay pot showcases the skill, craftsmanship and beauty of work by award-winning Santa Clara potter Geri Naranjo. The highly polished black pot features carved sgraffito designs, including a traditional avanyu, or water serpent, that wraps around the rim and a repeated pattern of feathers below it. All materials are natural and made by hand, from the clay to the dyes, and every step has been completed by hand, including construction, polishing and the carving of intricate designs. Elegant and timeless, this miniature vessel is a brilliant work of art from one of Santa Clara’s finest potters.
- Pot handmade by Geri Naranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo)
- Natural clay with all-natural vegetal and mineral slip
- Crafted through traditional horizontal coil method
- Traditional Santa Clara blackware with hand-etched sgraffito
- Avanyu (water serpent) and feather design
- Pot measures 2-1/4” high x 2-3/4” wide with 3/4” opening
- 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.
Geri Naranjo is one of the most celebrated potters working today in Santa Clara Pueblo. Known for her highly polished black miniatures with complex sgraffito designs, Naranjo creates exquisite work that is collected worldwide. She learned the art from her mother Ursalita Naranjo and has been making her own pots since 1975. She uses all traditional methods, from constructing and polishing by hand to firing outdoors, and her work often features precisely carved avanyu and feather patterns. Naranjo has won many awards, including Best in Pottery three years in a row at Santa Fe Indian Market. Her sister, Dolores Curran, is also a renowned potter, and she has passed on the art to her son and daughter, who also make pottery miniatures.
Santa Clara Pueblo, a Tewa-speaking Pueblo located along the Rio Grande River in northern New Mexico, has one of the most dynamic and innovative pottery-making communities in the world. Today, the Pueblo’s best known pottery style is polished blackware with precisely carved sgraffito designs. Blackware can be traced back to the 12th century and was revived in the early 20th century by potters from San Ildefonso Pueblo. Though their style is similar to San Ildefonso’s, Santa Clara potters set themselves apart by carving designs into the clay rather than painting them on the surface. This type of low relief carving, called sgraffito, was a major shift in style that had a lasting effect on modern Pueblo pottery. Blackware remains popular, but there are many Santa Clara artists who have developed their own signature styles. Known for their creativity, these potters experiment with non-traditional, asymmetrical vessel shapes and contemporary design motifs. No matter their style, Pueblo potters from Santa Clara have an unbelievable mastery of their craft, making their handmade pots among the most valuable in the world.The avanyu is a water serpent that the Pueblo people consider to be the guardian of water. Depicted as a horned serpent with lightning emerging from its mouth, the avanyu is believed to live in the Rio Grande and its tributaries. The creature’s body typically looks like a rippling stream, and the lightning coming from its mouth signifies thunderstorms that bring rain. A common design in the pottery of Santa Clara and San Ildefonso Pueblos, the avanyu represents the importance of water for the Pueblo people.
The most celebrated and recognized art form of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, 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 and the Hopi have distinctive pottery styles that are prized by collectors, but there are accomplished potters 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. 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.