Curran, Dolores – Large Polychrome Jar with Avanyu, 64 Feathers and Lid
WOW! This is an amazing larger jar by Dolores Curran. I think I say that each time she finishes a larger vessel, but I think it is just that each time there is something interesting about the new work. Because of the time-consuming and detail-oriented nature of her pottery, she only makes a few pieces each year this size or larger. Dolores was inspired to create these red polychrome incised and painted by her husband, Alvin Curran. He was known for his incised San Juan style pottery in the late 1990s. The shape of his jar is a storage jar form with a high shoulder and short neck. The neck of the jar is deeply carved with an avanyu. The tongue and the clouds are slipped with white clay while the body of the avanyu has a micaceous clay slip. Note around the rim and on top of the rim, the jar is painted “red-on-red” with wave designs. The shoulder of the jar is striking with 64 carved feathers. Note how they are carved at a slight angle. Below the feathers, the jar is fully incised (not as deeply cut into the clay as if is it was carved) with bands of flower, star, and prayer feather designs. Interestingly, it is a combination of polished tan, matte red, and micaceous clays that create the colors on this section. The base is polished red and has just a few red-on-red painted cloud and prayer feather designs. The lid has a prayer feather as the finial. The flat part of the lid is incised with clouds. They are the rounded white areas and the micaceous step areas (the two classic styles of Pueblo clouds). The remainder of the top of the lid is red-on-red with cloud and lightning designs. The lid is designed so it sits down into the rim of the jar and doesn’t move. Overall, it is a wonderfully complex design that incorporates painted, carved, and incised techniques. In addition, there are matte, polished, and micaceous textures. All the colorations are from natural clay slips. It is an extraordinary amount of time to create pieces this intricate both in design and in the various clay additions. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Dolores Curran”. Simply dynamic!