This Hopi bowl, shown above/below, is probably 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 is that of Theresa Harvey. I think it is a beautiful bowl. I’ve found one other example, on-line, of Theresa’s work. There was (or is) also a potter named Vina Harvey; I found one example of that person’s work, and it looked very, very similar to the work of Theresa.
The following pot is either from the Santa Clara pueblo, or the San Juan pueblo. People who know more than I do have differing opinions about that. 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.
The bowl, dated to the 1940’s or 1950’s, attains its red color by a slip that is put on. Then, it’s either rag buffed or stone polished. The inside of it shows some damage; however, I had no other examples of this type, so when I found it reasonably priced, approximately 25 years ago, I bought it.
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.)
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. Note that this piece is quite small. In the early 1900’s, tourists wanted small pieces that would fit into their suitcases. The Fred Harvey Company marketed Native American arts and crafts to folks who made the train trip to the Southwest, all those years ago. This could definitely have been sold by the Harvey Company to a curious tourist. That would mean that this is a good hundred years old.
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.
Here is a great Facebook group you can join, to learn about and discuss pueblo pottery: https://www.facebook.com/groups/117431765669388/
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.
Please see parts two, three and four….