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cochiti potteryCochiti Pottery

Cochiti Pottery from Cochiti Pueblo - English Pronunciation: "Coh-chee-tee," Traditional Name: KO-TYIT. The Cochiti people are noted for their hospitality and friendship towards visitors who are welcomed to many of the annual ceremonies for which Cochiti is famous. Many members of the Pueblo live outside the reservation and have been acculturated into the Anglo-Hispanic community, but most of them continue their association with the Pueblo, especially during the major feast day. San Buenaventura’s Day in July. This is marked by dancing and ceremonies of traditional pattern and authentic costumes. At one time, agriculture was the primary activity of the Pueblo. Dams have been constructed to assist in the elaborate irrigation system that helps maintain the crops, but through the years, as employment outside the Pueblo increased, so agriculture decreased. The Pueblo has been more affected by contact with the majority culture than many of the other Pueblos with electricity, plumbing and above all, radio and television, which may account for the preponderance of the Anglo lifestyle in ratio to historic customs. Many of the ancient crafts have been revived, such as pottery and jewelry making which constitutes a good source of income from sales to tourists. One of the most popular pieces is the Storyteller figure, which was revived in 1964 by Helen Cordero. It comprises a seated man with a number of children on his arms and lap, made of clay with vari-colored decorations. Animal figures such as turtles, birds, frogs, and lizards are also depicted. Many Cochiti artists work in watercolors, ink and oil paint and have achieved considerable fame for their innovative use of color. But the most important product of the craftsmen of Cochiti is the drum. These are made from hollowed tree trunks, mostly aspen, with leather ends laced together around the cylinder. Live trees are not cut down to make these drums, but great care is exercised in the selection of the logs. They are made by other Indians for their excellent quality and tone. There are a number of festivals and dances in June, July, and August to which the public is invited to see the traditional dances and ceremonies of the Cochiti Pueblo.

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Ortiz, Virgil – “Blind Archers: Tahu” Jar (2013)

This is one of the great iconic jars by Virgil Ortiz in his Pueblo Revolt Series.  The jar was made for the “Blind Archers” gallery exhibit in 2013.  The story of Tahu, the Blind Archer is part of his work centering around the Pueblo Revolt 1680/2180.  The jar has Tahu in a 2180 stance on one side, and on the opposite side the 1680 Tahu has the iconic rose in her mouth.  Separating the two figures are hummingbirds, which circle the jar and are surrounded by the wildflower tendrils.  The hummingbirds are a symbolic image used by Virgil to represent his mother, Seferina Ortiz, on his pottery. In this series, which Virgil has spoken about the importance of women in Pueblo culture, it was important for him to include his mother in the art.  The Blind Archer series can be summed up in Virgil’s words which were in the catalog for the show, “See the Truth.  Defeat your Fear”.  The jar has the “spirit line” which is a break in the painting on the rim.  It has been traditionally fired and uses native clay, native clay slips and wild spinach (the black).  The piece is signed on the bottom. The use of traditional and contemporary imagery has become a standard for Virgil’s pottery as he pushes the boundaries of contemporary Native clay.  The jar included a copy of the “Bind Archer” catalog from the exhibit in 2013, where the jar is featured.

$ 6,800.00
Ortiz, Inez – Owl Storyteller

Inez Ortiz was the sister of Virgil Ortiz and the mother of Lisa Holt.  She was well known for her whimsical figures and her animals storytellers.  This is one of her standing owl, which has four baby owls in its wings.  It is a charming piece and wonderfully painted with detail for the feathers.  The figure is painted with wild spinach (black) and red clay slip.  It is signed on the bottom.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 850.00
Sale!
Holt, Lisa & Harlan Reano – Jar with Wild Spinach Plant Designs

Lisa Holt and Harlan Reano make an amazing team, working to create innovative pottery using traditional techniques.  Lisa makes the pottery and it is painted by Harlan.  Each piece is painted with native clays (red, white) while the black is wild spinach (a plant).  They are also traditionally fired.  This water jar is an elegant shape with the high shoulder and elongated neck.  The piece is fully painted with a very complex and elaborate design!  The imagery is based on the wild spinach plant, used for the black paint on the pottery.  This plant design can be see around the shoulder and near the base of the jar.  There are additional plant and lightning motifs around the surface.  It’s exciting to see such a fully designed jar and with such amazing intricacy of patterns! Lisa and Harlan have won numerous awards over the years.  This jar is signed on the bottom.

$ 3,400.00 $ 2,400.00
Ortiz, Seferina – Storyteller Mocassin with 14 Kids (1970’s)

Seferina Ortiz is the matriarch of a family of renowned potters, including Virgil Ortiz, Janice Ortiz, and Lisa Holt. This is an unusual storyteller which is in the shape of a shoe or moccasin.  There are fourteen “windows” carved out of the piece and each one had a child in the window!  It is a charming piece and structurally amazing that it survived the firing with all the little windows!  It is slipped with the white Cochiti clay and then painted with wild spinach (black) and red clay slip and fired.  The piece is signed on the inside.  It was traditionally fired and in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  Definitely an exceptional piece by this historically important potter!

$ 900.00
Ortiz, Virgil – Old Style “Monos” Figure

Virgil Ortiz is known for his innovative style of Cochiti pottery, inspired by the Monos figures made at the pueblo in the 1880’s. As I wrote in the book, “Virgil Ortiz: Pueblo Revolt 1680/2180,

“This use of the figures for social commentary is where they derived their name, monos. The word is a colloquial blend of Spanish and Keres, with inexact definitions that range from “mimic,” “mocking,” or “cute” to “monkey.” While “monkey” might have suggested the elongated bodies and arms or the simplified open-mouthed faces of the figures, it was also a subtle racial pejorative aimed at their Cochiti makers.”

This is one of Virgil’s traditional clay figures made from native clay and painted with native clays and wild spinach (black).  The figure has been traditionally fired.  As noted the Monos figures were originally created as objects of social criticism and reflection and Virgil continues on this same path in his contemporary work.  This figure is made in the “old style” and as a reference check out the final image by Ben Wittick from the 1880’s. These figures were made with hollow arms and “open” hands.  The mouths and eyes were also open.  Here Virgil has revived those older technical forms. The designs on the figure a spinach leaf patterns on the vest and pants. The little pocket on the vest and the goatee on the figure are very reminiscent of the early Monos figures, as those were personal identifiers which were incorporated into the design.  Note how deeply the black fired on this piece!  The earrings are also traditional red clay and added after the firing. It is signed on the bottom and is from 2018.

$ 5,900.00
Sale!
Holt, Lisa & Harlan Reano – Dragon Dog Clay Figure

Lisa Holt and Harlan Reano make an amazing team, working to create innovative pottery using traditional techniques.  Lisa makes the pottery and it is painted by Harlan.  This figure is a dragon/dog.  It creatively combines both a pueblo and Asian influence.  The dragon is hollow and the body has a spiraling appearance.  The body is complex and the various spines add an exceptional sense of depth to this piece!  The turned head is just perfect!  The body is painted with bee-weed (black) and a red clay slip. On the back legs is a wild spinach design.  On the sides is a flower pattern. The back and legs has a mosaic lightning pattern which Harlan often uses on his pottery.  The small clay tabs which are added are the natural color of the clay, adding another dimension to the piece.  The materials are all traditional as the red and cream are both native clays while the black is wild spinach (a plant). This figure was also traditionally fired outdoors.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 6,000.00 $ 4,200.00
Romero, Diego – “Fallen Angel” Open Bowl

This is a very powerful piece from Diego Romero.  The title of the bowl is “Fallen Angel” and is one of the pieces Diego has created over the years touching on the impact of addiction.  The painting is exceptional with a very simple figure and a very impactful statement created.  The bowl itself has the flared rim and two bands of intricately painted designs.  Diego was one of the potters around 1990 to break away from more classic shapes and styles of pottery. He returned to a pre-contact style of Mimbres culture (1100’s in southwest New Mexico) and was inspired by the open bowl shape. This has been his “canvas” throughout most of his career. The imagery evolves, changes and tells a narrative of his life and interests. It is signed on the rim, “Chongo Made Me, Chongo Painted Me”.  The bowl is in perfect condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

Click here to read more about Diego’s Imagery!

$ 5,500.00
Romero, Diego – “Chongo Stone Heads” Jar

Diego Romero was one of the potters around 1990 to break away from more classic  styles of Pueblo pottery. He returned to a pre-contact style of Mimbres culture (1100's in southwest New Mexico) and was inspired by the open bowl shape. This has been his “canvas” throughout most of his career.  However, he has also created a few vessels over time, which are also based on ancient shapes. This jar has a classic Chaco period form with the round body and elongated neck. The design here is derived from his Chongo character, who populates much of the iconography of his pottery.  Here, Chongo is out at night among giant Chongo heads, much like at Easter Island.  Here Chongo is standing among them with coyote in the background.  Note the stars at night, and maybe even a UFO!?   It is signed on the bottom, “Chongo Made Me, Chongo Painted Me”.  The bowl is in perfect condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  The jar has a round base, so we had a metal museum mount made for it to sit on, which gives it a very modern appearance!

Click here to read more about Diego's Imagery!

Click here to read more about Diego's Imagery!

$ 6,200.00
Holt, Lisa & Harlan Reano – Jar with Extended Flames

Lisa Holt and Harlan Reano make an amazing team, working to create innovative pottery using traditional techniques.  Lisa makes the pottery and it is painted by Harlan.  This jar has a tightly painted design around the neck with wild spinach plant patterns and flowering motifs.The sides have a similar design but each section is divided by a tendril or flame extension from the jar.  Harlan said that they had tried it before with two bands extruding out from the sides of the piece but the four were much more difficult.  The result, however, is a very cohesive appearance and flow of design and form.  The materials are all traditional as the red and cream are both native clays while the black is wild spinach (a plant). The jar is traditionally fired outdoors.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 3,800.00
Ortiz, Virgil – “Pueblo Revolt 1680:2180” Storage Jar

This large storage jar by Virgil Ortiz captures his story of the Pueblo Revolt 1680/2180.  The jar is coil built and painted with wild spinach (for the black).  The imagery captures Tahu the Blind Archer one one side and one of the Runners in a 2180 format. The front facing face is that of Translator, who tells the story of both time periods of the Pueblo Revolt.  Finally, there is striking another figure, morphing between man and bird.  It is an intricately painted jar and massive in size! It is an exceptional piece of pottery that continues to tell the story of the resilience of the Pueblo people.  Note how Virgil uses his graphic style lines and classic Cochiti imagery to enhance the faces and figures on the vessel!  There is a space on the rim of the neck where it is unpainted, which is the “heartline”, which Virgil always paints on his clay vessels.  The jar is signed on the bottom.  It is not often that Virgil makes a piece of this size or complexity of design and painting.  The final image is one of the piece in the gallery near other vessels for scale.

$ 19,800.00
Sale!
Holt, Lisa & Harlan Reano – Large Jar with Plant Designs

Lisa Holt and Harlan Reano make an amazing team, working to create innovative pottery using traditional techniques.  Lisa makes the pottery and it is painted by Harlan.  This large jar has a round body and a slight neck.  The neck of the jar is painted with a rain design. The body of the piece has a series of flowers and plants extending up from the base and down from the neck.  Harlan has used classic Cochiti and Santo Domingo designs to create the leaves and flowers of the plants!  The jar is painted with red and cream clays clays while the black is wild spinach (a plant). The jar is traditionally fired outdoors.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 4,500.00 $ 4,000.00
Sale!
Holt, Lisa & Harlan Reano – Storage Jar with Rain Geometric Panels

Lisa Holt and Harlan Reano make an amazing team, working to create innovative pottery using traditional techniques.  Lisa makes the pottery and it is painted by Harlan.  This storage jar is a striking shape with tall sides and a slight neck. The neck and the base are painted with wild spinach plant designs.  Around the center of the jar are panels with varied rain designs.  Each is different than the next creating a stunning appearance as the jar is turned.  The jar is stunning complexity in both form and design.  The materials are all traditional as the red and cream are both native clays while the black is wild spinach (a plant). The jar is traditionally fired outdoors.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 5,000.00 $ 4,000.00
Ortiz, Virgil – Large Traditional Jar with Rainbow & Plant Designs

This is a large jar by Virgil Ortiz inspired by traditional Cochiti designs. The jar has a high shoulder for the form, which works great to allow the most space for his dynamic designs.  This jar has a rainbow and cloud pattern around the neck.  Below the shoulder are classic Cochiti plant and wild spinach plant designs. Virgil has modernized them into striking graphics which somehow blend both the historic and modern into one.  The use of negative space and the cream colored clay slip as a background adds to the intensity of the black designs which are painted from the wild spinach plant!   There is a space on the rim of the neck where it is unpainted, which is the “heartline”, which Virgil always paints on his clay vessels.  The jar is signed on the bottom.

$ 7,500.00
Sale!
King, Charles S., “Spoken Through Clay”

Spoken Through Clay

A NEW  RELEASE SPECIAL:  $95.00, including shipping (US)! Check out the new review in the Denver Post!

 Just a few things which make this book unique!
*   The size!  The book is 11.75″ x 14.25″ and weights over 8 pounds!
*  The photography of the pottery is stunning, emphasizing the individual pieces.
*  Each caption is the artist discussing the individual piece on the page.
*  The artist “biographies” are from interviews with the artists and they discuss their art, culture, lives and history.
*  Organization: The book is not organized by pueblo or family, but entails new ways to think about the future of Native pottery.
*  Printing in Italy gives the book very high quality color and paper.
* The photos of the living artists were taken by Will Wilson using a tin-type process. He was a recipient of the 2107 New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in photography!
*  The book features work by more than 30 contemporary potters and more than a dozen important historic potters.
*  There are essays by myself, Peter Held and Eric Dobkin.  They add to the overall understanding of the project a historic perspective.

_____________________________________________

August 18, Pasatiempo Review

“Charles S. King’s new book, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery in the Southwest, The Eric S. Dobkin Collection, is spectacularly heavy —which is a problem from a practical standpoint, because once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. With dreamy tintype artist portraits by Diné photographer Will Wilson, dazzlingly crisp images from Addison Doty, and intimate first-person essays written by dozens of artists, the book is a visually delicious, intellectually consuming foray into historic and contemporary Southwestern pottery. In short, prepare to swoon.

If you’re thinking of this as a coffee-table book, you’ll need to imagine a decently sized coffee table. The book is more than a foot tall and, when opened, two feet wide, but its outsize appearance belies the often delicate beauty of its contents: hundreds of individual pieces of pottery from Eric S. Dobkin’s exquisitely curated collection — arguably the largest and most important of its kind. Gallery owner, author, and Pueblo pottery expert King designed Spoken Through Clay to be approachable for those unfamiliar with Native American pottery. “In the age of social media, I wanted to make the book both visually striking and personal,” King said. The book opens with essays by King, Dobkin, and curator Peter Held, who calls clay “the most archival of materials … seductive, sensuous, responsive, geologic, and malleable.”

“I wanted the end result of the book to be that the reader would connect with the artists in a personal way, beyond just the art, and understand the time it takes to become an artist, to achieve success,” King said. Sprawling yet intimate, Spoken Through Clay introduces its readers not just to the beauty of Southwestern pottery but also to the fascinating stories of the people who make it.Iris McLister, Pasatiempo

____________________________________

“It’s one of the things that makes us who we are. It’s what holds our family together. We are a family of potters. It’s our identity. People don’t realize how much work goes into it just processing the clay and making it. You have to do it with your heart.”—Linda Tafoya-Sanchez

 

FEATURED ARTISTS Grace Medicine Flower • Dextra Quotskuyva • Autumn Borts-Medlock • Jody Naranjo • Harrison Begay Jr. • Jordan Roller • Sara Fina Tafoya • Lonnie Vigil • Margaret Tafoya • Steve Lucas • LuAnn Tafoya • Loren Ami • Toni Roller • Popovi Da • Linda Tafoya-Sanchez • Mark Tahbo • James Ebelacker• Yvonne Lucas • Jeff Roller • Lisa Holt • Harlan Reano • Nampeyo • Jacquie Stevens • Nathan Youngblood • Jacob Koopee Jr. • Jennifer Moquino • Christopher Youngblood • Maria Martinez • Tony Da • Tammy Garcia • Virgil Ortiz • Joseph Lonewolf • Johnathan Naranjo • Nancy Youngblood • Les Namingha • Russell Sanchez • Christine McHorse • Richard Zane Smith • Rondina Huma • Susan Folwell • Dominique Toya • Jody Folwell

Spoken Through Clay features the pottery of iconic Native American artists from historic potters Nampeyo and Maria Martinez, to contemporary potters Tammy Garcia, Virgil Ortiz, and many others, are featured in a new book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection, covering a wide range of mostly Pueblo artists from the Southwest.

“The physical scale of the vessels combined with the depth of the contemporary collection [is] breathtaking,” says author Charles S. King. The book is part of a “transitional process of looking to the clay, the vessel, and the potter’s voice and allowing the pieces to stand on the merit of their artistic integrity.”

The book includes portraits and voices of renowned potters speaking about their artistry and technique, families, culture, and traditions. Many of the artists are connected by Pueblos, generations, or family members. Dynamic color photography captures the depth and dimension of the pieces, while the artists provide an illuminating perspective through narrative captions. Artists, academics, collectors, family members, and gallerists add additional insight about the lives, historical context, and importance of these potters and their work.

SPOKEN THROUGH CLAY Native Pottery of the Southwest The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
By Charles S. King Essay by Peter Held

Artist portraits by Will Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-89013-624-9

352 pages, 320 color plates, 40 artist portraits

Publication Date: August 01, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charles S. King is the author of Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, The Life and Art of Tony Da, Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180, and numerous articles on Pueblo pottery. He has served on boards of art associations, judged pottery at prestigious events, and lectures about the art form. His business King Galleries represents many of today’s leading Native potters and important historic works in clay. Charles lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

$ 125.00 $ 95.00
Cordero, Helen – Grandfather Storyteller with 12 Kids

Helen Cordero is undoubtedly one of the great names in Cochiti pottery.  It was in 1964 that Cordero said she made her first storyteller.  According to her, “I made some more of my Storytellers with lots of children climbing on him to listen, then I took them up to the Santo Domingo Feast Day” and the rest is history.  Her pieces were all males, to honor her grandfather, whom she would hear telling children stories of Pueblo life and culture.  She received the New Mexico Governor’s award in 1982 and the NEA Heritage Fellowship in 1986.  This storyeller is one of her pieces from the 1970’s.  It is complex in terms of its painting and figurative work.  There are twelve children all around the figure. Each one is dressed differently and they are very interactive with one another.  Note the details on the larger figure, including the sash on the side and the squash blossom necklace!  The piece is signed  on the bottom, “Helen Cordero”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is not often that we see one of her storytellers with so many children and with such intricate designs.  Definitely a classic!

$ 11,000.00
Holt, Lisa & Harlan Reano – Spiraling Dragon Clay Figure

Lisa Holt and Harlan Reano make an amazing team, working to create innovative pottery using traditional techniques.  Lisa makes the pottery and it is painted by Harlan.  This dragon figure combines both a pueblo and Asian influence with the avanyu and dragon combination.  The dragon is hollow and the body has a spiraling appearance.  The undulating form is exceptional clay work as the piece is hollow and it is subtley connected adding both strength to the clay and allowing the figure to have more movement. The designs are a combination of plant patterns which are then emulated with the spines along the back.  The small clay tabs which are added are the natural color of the clay, adding another dimension to the piece.  The materials are all traditional as the red and cream are both native clays while the black is wild spinach (a plant). This figure was also traditionally fired outdoors.

$ 6,500.00
Ortiz, Virgil – “Aeronaut” Pueblo Revolt 1680/2180 (p. 36)

Virgil Ortiz created dynamic figures such as this aeronaut, for his series of the Pueblo Revolt 1680/2180.  This piece was part of the exhibit of the same name at the Denver Art Museum.  The are featured on page 36 of the catalog.  The figure is made from native clay, painted with native clay slips and traditionally fired.  The black is derived from wild spinach (a plant) and the others are all natural clay slips.  In the catalog, the aeronaut is written about as follows.

These futuristic scenes underscore the movement Ortiz infuses in these clay works and their complicated painting. “I wanted to create an illusion of motion using the sculpting and painting. The Blind Archer series has a more three-dimensional style of sculpture. The Aeronauts, I designed them so they look like they are launching off like a rocket or an aircraft. They are portrayed like the Ancient Ancestors (aliens). They are laid back and surrounded with old style ‘hieroglyphics.’” “There are always three Ancestors on each Survivorship to guide them, they represent the wisdom of the elders within the marvels of technology.” The Survivorships are an integral part of the narrative and create a link from the ancient past to the future.

Note the angular shapes on both pieces.  How Virgil is able to create such dynamic forms is amazing.  The designs further enhance the shape of the piece. Virgil has expanded his technique and added new levels to his clay surfaces. Taking a closer look at the piece, note that all the various designs are from traditional elements such as sun, moon, rain and mountains.  The pieces are in perfect condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is certainly a unique opportunity to have a piece with such important provenance!

$ 13,500.00
Romero, Diego – “In the Beginning” Open Bowl

Diego Romero was one of the potters around 1990 to break away from more classic shapes and styles of pottery. He returned to a pre-contact style of Mimbres culture (1100’s in southwest New Mexico) and was inspired by the open bowl shape. This has been his “canvas” throughout most of his career. The imagery evolves, changes and tells a narrative of his life and interests.  This very intricately painted bowl is entitled, “In the Beginning“.  It has the center panel there are all three of Diego’s iconic figures, Hound, Coyote and Fox.  They are at that defining moment of creation, with each of them in an intertwined dance in the cosmos.  The bowl is flared out and it is painted with a classic Mimbres design.  It is signed on the rim, “Chongo Made Me, Chongo Painted Me”.  The bowl is in perfect condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

Click here to read more about Diego’s Imagery!

$ 7,000.00
King, Charles S. – “Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180”

Over the past decade, Charles King has worked closely with Virgil Ortiz at King Galleries.  Virgil has premiered nearly all his new series at the gallery during that time.  In preparation for this book of Virgil’s work surrounding the Pueblo Revolt 1680/2180, King interviewed and worked with Virgil to help give new insight into this amazing accomplishment.  The result is the first comprehensive analysis and presentation of how Virgil conceived and then brought to life his various series dealing with the Pueblo Revolt.

Virgil Ortiz is an internationally renowned ceramicist, fashion designer, and graphic artist from Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. He uses contemporary art to blend historic events with futuristic elements. Set against Ortiz’s graphic murals, the exhibition “Revolt 1680/2180: Virgil Ortiz” features 31 clay figures and invites visitors to immerse themselves in a storyline that Ortiz created that begins with the Pueblo revolt of 1680. 

In addition to King’s essay, there is a spectacular forward by Herman Agoyo, who helped bring the statue of Po’Pay to the US Capitol.  Peter Held, renown curator of the Ceramics Research Center, rounds out the essays with insights into how Virgil’s work fits into the modern world of ceramics.

If you have always wanted to understand Virgil’s take on the Pueblo Revolt and how he has re-imagined it in the future, this is certainly the only book to give such insight.  Take a moment and delve into his art and check out the amazing ceramic pieces also featured in the book!  It is stunning!


Revolt 1680/2180: Virgil Ortiz
by Charles King, Foreword by Herman Agoyo
Denver Art Museum, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-914738-98-5
Hardcover, 7 ¾ x 9 in.
80 pages, 58 illustrations

$ 35.00
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