Cheromiah, Lee Ann – Laguna Water Jar with Rain and Cloud Designs
Lee Ann Cheromiah (b. 1954) is a daughter of noted potter Evelyn Cheromiah (1928-2013) and a granddaughter of Mariano Cheromiah. She is a sister of Wendy Cheromiah. Lee Ann is known for continuing her mother’s revival of traditional Laguna pottery. This jar is coil-built from traditional clay and painted with bee-weed (black). The jar has thin lines used to represent rain. There is a cloud band around the shoulder of the piece. There are additional lightning and mesa designs. It is a complex jar and, while traditional in design, the complex imagery has a modernist appearance. The jar is signed, “L. A. Cheromiah”.
“Working beside my mother, she would tell me about making pottery; from mining, cleaning, grinding of the pottery shards and the mixing of the clay, to the sacred belief we have for Mother Earth. While preparing to mine the clay, I was told to make food offerings. My offerings came from my breakfast, as we always went for clay in the morning. In addition to these food offerings, I would always bring some corn meal. With these I would offer and pray to the Clay Woman. In my prayers, I would ask that I be allowed to mine the clay safely, and that the clay would be easy to mine. I would also pray that my work with the clay would be easy and plentiful, meaning that I would be able to sell my pots and use the gifts (money) for my family and home, and that I would be able to help others when in need. After the clay was mined I would take it home, welcome it to my home, and invite her in.” Lee Ann Cheromiah, Talking to the Clay