Cruz, Crucita – Polychrome Plate with Cloud Designs (1930’s)
Crucita Cruz one of the early revivalists in San Juan pottery. She did not make a lot of pottery during her career, but her work is exceptionally creative. This plate is from the 1930s. It is matte on the front and painted with a white clay slip and a mauve or almost purple clay. The cloud designs are painted on the surface and note the complex lines painted both in white and purple! The back of the plate is fully polished red. The plate is signed on the back with a white clay slip, “Crucita T. Cruz”. This style of signing pottery with a white clay slip was popular in the late 1930s at Santa Clara Pueblo and also at San Juan. The purple-colored clay was also used for a brief time during this period as well at both pueblos. The plate is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.
Crucita Cruz was one of the Original Eight San Juan potters who revived the art form in the 1930s. The Pueblo was renown for their pottery but by about 1890 there were no potters left. In 1930 Regina Cata organized a pottery study group at San Juan Pueblo with the intent of revitalizing pottery production. The group studied ancient potsherds of wares made at San Juan in earlier times and selected Potsuwi‘i Incised Ware (1450-1500) as a basis for a contemporary pottery type.