Gutierrez, Lois – Jar with Bears & Avanyu
This is a complex jar by Lois Gutierrez. She is one of the few potters who continues to create polychrome pottery at Santa Clara. Polychrome, or more than three different colors of clay slips, are all painted onto the surface of the vessel before it is fired. This is a water jar shape with a wide shoulder and an elongated neck. The jar is painted with a flowing design with bears. Each bear is surrounded by an avanyu and has a plant design. The story of the bear and the Pueblo people is that the bear leads the people to water during a drought. Here, the bear and water serpent are connected in their designs. They are each every intricately designed with different clay slips. Below the shoulder is an additional bear paw design. All the colors are derived from natural clay slips. This jar has over five different natural clay colors utilized. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Lois”. This is an intricate piece of Lois’s pottery which combines a cultural legacy in design with one in clay.