de la Cruz, Juan and Lois Gutierrez – “Turkey Girl” Plate
Juan Cruz creates complex painted polychrome pottery. He is a son of noted potter Lois Gutierrez. Lois made the plate and Juan, who is noted for his illustrations, painted the design using natural clay slips. The plate is a perfect shape to show the entire story he is creating in clay. The “Turkey Girl” is the Pueblo version of “Cinderella”. Here she is depicted in the center with the turkey giving her new clothes. The plate has some amazing detail that Juan paints with clay onto the clay vessel! Juan wrote of the scene he painted as follows:
“A flock of turkeys had herded her into the river to bathe. The group became quite voluble with their clucking and purring calls as they parted way for a single file of their number who each bore a new article of clothing in their beaks. These accoutrements were presented to her in turn with sounds of approval as she donned them. After being fully dressed in this manner, she was sure she’d be able to attend the feast now.”
The plate is truly polychrome (more than three colors of clay). Note the intricacy and detail in the various designs. It comes in a metal museum mount which was made for the plate. While Juan is new to the pottery world, he recently won “Best of Pottery” at Gallup Ceremonials in 2017 and again in 2019. He has been featured in articles in Cowboys & Indians Magazine and Native Art Magazine in 2018.