Dunlap, Carlos “Sunrise” – Candlestick (1978)
Carlos Dunlap was a son of Carmelita Dunlap and a grandson of Juanita Montoya Vigil, the youngest sister of Maria Martinez. He was a brother to Jeannie Dunlap, Cynthia Dunlap, Linda Dunlap, and Martha Appleaf Fender. This is one of the few clay candlesticks of his we have seen. It has a spiral appearance and the entire piece is fully polished and fired a deep black. The piece is signed “Carlos Sunrise Dunlap” on the bottom in the clay. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. There is one small rub near the edge of the base.
“Candlestick holders were created in clay at the various Pueblos by at least the 1920s. They were a folk art/functional form that was made for tourists, much like the “cigarette boxes” or ashtrays. Most of the candlestick holders were made to be used. Today, we may dismiss them for their craft and utilitarian form. However, we should also keep in mind the technical skill required to make them. The candlesticks from Santa Clara or San Ildefonso are made from native clay and most are fully polished. They are typically traditionally fired a deep black coloration so that they never discolor from smoke or flame. There is always a risk to traditionally firing something that is solid clay. Since so many candlesticks were used, they have not always remained in the best condition over the years. Finding pieces from the 1920’s to the 1970s that have survived intact is a rarity. Today, few potters continue to make them but it is exciting when they continue this uniquely Pueblo variation of a most functional form.” Charles S> King