Curran, Dolores (b. 1954)
This is a striking large jar by Dolores Curran. She continues to create intricately incised and painted pottery. She 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. Dolores said this was the first time she had made this shape. She said she was inspired by a photo of pieces her mother, Ursulita Naranjo, had made. The jar has a sharp shoulder and a sloping neck. There are eight stylized butterflies etched into the clay around the neck of the jar. Note that the wings on each of the butterflies is painted with a different pattern! They also alternate so that two pairs are slipped with mica before painting and two are matte before painting. Above the shoulder are incised rain designs. Around the jar, just below the shoulder is an incised polychrome avanyu. It is a complex design using various colors of clay. The bottom section of the jar is incised with an amazingly precise cloud and rain pattern. The bottom of the jar is fully polished red and also painted with small prayer feathers. The lid of the jar is carved on the top with a swirling rainbird pattern. When the lid is turned over there is a more deeply incised prayer feather pattern. The lid fits perfectly into the jar. The designs are incised into the clay and then highlighted with clay slips, and note how even in the incised areas she has added red clay! Using a larger vessel allows Dolores to create more subtlety in the colors. All the colorations are from natural clay slips. It is an extraordinary amount of time to create pieces intricate both in design and to use the various clay additions. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Dolores Curran”.