I’ve chosen some pieces from my pueblo pottery collection, which I will briefly discuss here. The wedding vase shown above/below was created by a potter circa 1920, from the Acoma Pueblo (signed “Acoma, NM” on bottom), which is located near Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is my favorite piece in my collection.

This Hopi bowl, shown above/below, could be dated to 1940’s. It’s often hard to determine the exact decade a piece was created. Pottery left in the sun can fade, and thus appear older than it actually is. However, judging from style, quality and condition, I am saying circa 1940. The signature on the bottom appears to say “Theresa Herrera”. I’ll take suggestions re its age. Regardless of its age, it is a beautiful bowl.

I am going to say that the following pot is from the Santa Clara pueblo. At times, it is difficult to pin down the exact pueblo of origin, because some pueblo’s/potter’s work is very similar. Many pieces are unsigned, as is this one.

Mariposa or Santa Clara Bowl 1 001

The bowl is an example of red ware. For red ware, according to indiancraftshop.com, the fire is not smothered, allowing air to pass through, and the pottery retains its red color.

Mariposa or Santa Clara Bowl 1 002

Santa Clara or similar Bowl 1 001

I believe this little black bowl, above, was also produced by a Santa Clara potter. “Front” and “rear” appear nearly identical, thus I’m posting one photo. The black color was derived by either smothering the fire surrounding the pottery during the firing process, smudging the fire at a relatively cool temperature, and/or incorporating pottery shards and sheep and horse manure, placed around the outside and inside of the kiva-style, outdoor oven. (Thank you, Wikipedia for helping me explain the process.)

Hopi Pitcher 1 001

This little Hopi pitcher has a “fire cloud” on its surface. It was apparently placed very close to the fire. The smudge is considered desirable by some collectors, including me. The walls of the pitcher, as well as the handle, are rather thick. To me, this denotes a pot made by a less-experienced potter. Note that this piece is quite small. I’m certain it was intended to be a decorative piece, and was not meant to have a practical function. I date it to the 1940’s or 1950’s. It obviously has some age on it, but I don’t see it being made in the 1920’s/30’s.

Hopi Pitcher 1 003

The above deer vase, signed, “Acoma, NM”, is most likely of more recent vintage than the preceding pots. However, I think its design is so beautiful that it deserves inclusion here. I would still date it to pre-1960’s. That’s when commercial paints came into use. This pot is made from traditional materials. I am showing one side, as it is identical on both sides.

It’s difficult for the average, albeit, dedicated collector to assign an exact date a piece of pueblo pottery was created. Plus, it can be difficult to determine the origin of a piece, lacking a signature/location on the bottom. I enjoy my pottery for its beauty and cultural significance. I acknowledge that most or all of these beautiful works were created where no electricity or (indoor) running water was available. Potters found (and find) the time and means to produce their works, in spite of the fact that their many daily chores take longer to complete. Potters, like other artists, musicians and writers, are driven.  


randy boogie boarding and santo domingo pot 007

Above: the one that got away. I sold this quite large, beautiful pot, which was probably made at the Santo Domingo pueblo circa 1970, in 2006. I still don’t know what I was thinking. Enough said…. Not quite enough: I also sold the two little ones which bookend it.