Hubert Candelario

San Felipe
Hubert Candelario
Micaceous carved pot

Hubert Candelario (Butterfly) was born into San Felipe Pueblo in 1965. He's been actively making pottery since 1987.

Historically, San Felipe was not an active pottery center. San Felipe residents obtained their pottery in trade from neighbors, most often from Zia Pueblo.

Hubert earned an associate's degree in architectural design and drafting. That has fostered his appreciation for structure and pure architectural form. He credits Maria Martinez as a major influence in his pottery career. He also says Santa Clara potter Nancy Youngblood has had a direct impact on his work with her swirl melon pots.

Made the traditional way, his early works were polished redware. Today he is famous for his precisely carved puzzle pots, melon jars and pots perforated with circular or hexagonal holes.

The structure of his pottery is formed with a red clay local to San Felipe. He completes the concept with layers of orange micaceous slip, burnished after each layer, to create his fabulous color and texture. The micaceous clay he gets from Nambe and Picuris Pueblos. He fires his pottery in a kiln to achieve an even color, free of fire clouds.

Hubert has won numerous awards including more than one 1st Place ribbon at the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market. His work was included in the 2002 exhibit and catalog Changing Hands: Art without Reservation at the American Craft Museum in New York City. One of his large swirl melon jars was also selected for the permanent collection at the Denver Art Museum.

He signs his work: "Hubert Candelario, San Felipe Pueblo", followed by the date the piece was made.

Some of the Recent Awards Hubert has Earned

  • 2019 - First Place, Division E, Category 905 - Miscellaneous pottery, Santa Fe Indian Market
  • 2023 - First Place, Division E, Category 905 - Miscellaneous pottery, Santa Fe Indian Market
100 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(505) 986-1234 - - All Rights Reserved


San Felipe Pueblo

The view west at San Felipe
San Felipe Pueblo today

During the great migrations from the Four Corners area to the Rio Grande Pueblos the people of Cochiti and San Felipe were one. On arriving near the Rio Grande they settled in the area now known as Bandelier National Monument, taking advantage of a landscape that made it easy to construct dwellings. However, over time that area got too dry, too, and the people decided to move closer to the large river. Disagreements over where to settle split the people into what is now the Cochiti and San Felipe tribes.

When Francisco de Coronado arrived in 1540, there were two San Felipe villages, one on each side of the Rio Grande. The main villages were comprised of large two-and-three-story structures plus a couple hundred outlying dwellings. The Spanish built their first mission church next to the east village around 1600.

The San Felipe ancestral home at Bandelier National Monument
Part of the San Felipe ancestral home

The people of San Felipe participated in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 but killed no Spaniards or any priests. Governor Otermin returned with troops in 1681 and found San Felipe abandoned as the people had hidden themselves atop nearby Horn Mesa. The Spaniards looted and burned the pueblo before returning to Mexico. When Don Diego de Vargas came back in 1692, the people chose to surrender and be baptised rather than fight. To test the peace they first settled atop nearby Santa Ana Mesa. A few years later they descended into the Rio Grande Valley and founded today's pueblo.

San Felipe has always had more arable land than most of the other pueblos and is still known for its agricultural products, although most people commute to work off-pueblo. The long-held isolationism of the San Felipe people has contributed to the loss of many traditional activities, including the making of pottery. Most San Felipe potters active today either learned the art on their own or learned from artisans at other pueblos. The revival of San Felipe pottery tradition is further complicated by the fact so few people remember where good clay might be found on the pueblo lands.

Map showing the location of San Felipe Pueblo

For more info:
Pueblos of the Rio Grande, Daniel Gibson, ISBN-13:978-1-887896-26-9, Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2001

100 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
(505) 986-1234 - - All Rights Reserved