Native American Pottery

Pottery-making is a thriving art form at many of the Southwest Indian pueblos and on the Navajo reservation today. Much of it looks very contemporary yet traditional methods are still used. Some of the well-known pueblos where pottery is made are Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Hopi, Acoma, Zuni, Cochiti, Laguna and Santo Domingo.

Pottery, old or new is traditionally made without the use of a wheel.The walls of the piece are built up by coiling ropes of clay on top of one another, then scraping and smoothing the surface to obliterate any trace of the coils. After the pot has dried, a watery clay soup, called a slip, is wiped on the surface, then polished with a smooth stone. If a design is to be painted, this is done after polishing, but before firing. The firing is mostly done outside in the open.The pots are placed on a metal grate and covered with scrap metal or large pottery fragments. The fuel, usually dried dung cakes or wood, is placed under, around, and over the pile, then ignited. Generally, the fire is simply allowed to burn down.

If black pots are desired, the entire heap is completely smothered with powdered manure and fine ash after the fire has reached its peak. However, some artists today are kiln firing. If the pottery is to have graffito or light carving, this is done after firing.

Hoel’s Indian Shop is committed to providing the highest quality Southwest pottery either vintage or new.

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