de la Cruz, Juan and Lois Gutierrez – “Birds of Song and Prey” Jar
Juan Cruz creates complex painted polychrome pottery. He is a son of noted potter Lois Gutierrez. Lois made the jar and Juan, who is noted for his illustrations, painted the design using natural clay slips. This water jar has sloping sides and intricately painted figures. Juan wrote of the scene he painted as follows:
“And the Sisters asked, “What new creation is in these next two bowls?” They hold them aloft and from one emerged the songbirds of the trees and form the other emerged the birds of pretty; each having the breath of life given to it.”
The jar is truly polychrome (more than three colors of clay). Note the intricacy of the painted designs and especially the figures. On one side are the two women holding kiva bowls. Next to one is a songbird and next to the other is a hawk (bird of prey). The description is written on the back of a hand-painted graphic of the four directions. What a phenomenal addition to this piece and the painting helps to better understand how exceptional Juan is with his art. While Juan is new to the pottery world, he recently won “Best of Pottery” at Gallup Ceremonials in 2017 and has been featured in articles in Cowboys & Indians Magazine and Native Art Magazine in 2018.
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