This is a traditional complex polychrome water 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 round shoulder and an elongated neck. The jar depicts the Basket Dance at Santa Clara Pueblo. There are seven figures on the jar, alternating male and female with a Koshari clown leading the way. Separating the dance group is a large Corn Maiden figure. She has a basket tablita on her head and the kernels on her body are all different colors. Below the shoulder of the jar are flowers and large half-baskets except where the Koshari is located, and there she painted a full basket. Note all the detail in each basket! WOW! The top of the jar has symbols for the four directions. This piece is amazing in detail on the figures, the motion, and the number of colors. There are at least NINE different colors of clay on this jar. Did you know that Lois collects each of the different clays from around Santa Clara Pueblo in order to create these colorations? The jar was traditionally fired. It is signed on the bottom, “Lois 2002”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.
Lois Gutierrez is the sister of noted potters Gloria Garcia (Goldenrod), Minnie Vigil and Thelma Talachy. She has won numerous awards for her pottery, including “Best of Show” at the Santa Fe Indian Market in the early 1980’s. Her work has been featured in numerous books including “Talking with the Clay” and “Beyond Traditions”. She is one of the few potters at Santa Clara Pueblo who continues to create true polychrome pottery. Each of the different colors on this piece are derived from different clays! Few potters are willing to take the time to find the different clays to create the various colors.