Lois Gutierrez
de la Cruz

Santa Clara

Born in 1948, Lois Gutierrez is the sister of Gloria (Goldenrod) Garcia, Thelma Talachy and Minnie Vigil. They all learned the ancient art from their mother, Petra Montoya Gutierrez, as they were growing up. Petra was from Pojoaque Pueblo and had married into Santa Clara. Her daughters were raised using mostly Santa Clara clays and designs.

Lois married Derek de la Cruz many years ago and they've been working together since: Lois does most of the potting and painting while Derek works with the clay and helps with the firing. Lois and Derek are among the few potters still working at Santa Clara who are willing to search out and prepare the various colors of natural clay Lois uses on her pots. One of their collaborations won the Best of Show ribbon at the Santa Fe Indian Market in 1982 and they were so overwhelmed by the sudden increased demand for their pottery they never exhibited there again, often choosing to go to the New Mexico State Fair instead (and they've won more than a few ribbons there, too).

Lois's specialty is polychrome pottery made the way it used to be at Santa Clara, before the carving and sgraffito processes took hold. Her designs are often depictions of scenes from pueblo life, adorned with appropriate geometrics.

Some Exhibits that Featured Works by Lois and Derek

  • Artistic Excellence: The Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market Celebrates 60 Years. Heard Museum. Phoenix, Arizona. February 2, 2018 - August 31, 2018
  • Images, Artists, Styles: Recent Acquisitions from the Heard Museum Collection. Heard Museum North. Scottsdale, Arizona. July 2001 - July 2002
  • 1980 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit. Heard Museum. Phoenix, Arizona. November 26 - December 3, 1980 Rising Stars. Gallery 10. Scottsdale, Arizona. February 8-27, 1980
  • 1978 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit. Heard Museum. Phoenix, Arizona. November 24 - December 2, 1978
  • 1977 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit. Heard Museum. Phoenix, Arizona. November 25 - December 3, 1977
  • 1976 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit. Heard Museum. Phoenix, Arizona. November 26 - December 5, 1976

Some Awards Won by Lois and Derek

  • 1984 Santa Fe Indian Market, Classification II - Pottery, Division E - Traditional pottery, painted designs on burnished black or red surface, Category 1102 - Jars (over 8 inches tall): Second Place
  • 1983 Santa Fe Indian Market, Katherine and Miguel Otero Award - Creative excellence in any category
  • 1983 Santa Fe Indian Market, Classification II - Pottery, Division F - Traditional, painted designs on matte or semi-matte surface: Second Place
  • 1982 Santa Fe Indian Market. Best of Show
  • 1982 Santa Fe Indian Market, Best of Class - Pottery
  • 1982 Santa Fe Indian Market, Classification Pottery, Best of Division
  • 1982 Santa Fe Indian Market, Classification Pottery, Traditional Hopi, Zia, Acoma Style Pottery. Jars - Other Pueblos: First Place
  • 1980 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, Classification VII, Pottery, Division A - Traditional construction and firing: Honorable Mention. Awarded for artwork: Large vase with fluted rim
  • 1978 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, Best of Show. Awarded for polychrome bowl: "Hunter & Turkey"
  • 1978 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit: Heard Museum Board of Trustees Best of Crafts. Awarded for polychrome bowl: "Hunter & Turkey"
  • 1978 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, Best of Pottery. Awarded for polychrome bowl: "Hunter & Turkey"
  • 1978 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, Best of New Mexico Pueblo Pottery. Awarded for polychrome bowl: "Hunter & Turkey"
  • 1978 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, Classification VII - Pottery, Division B - Contemporary: First Place. Awarded for polychrome bowl: "Hunter & Turkey"
  • 1977 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, Classification VII - Pottery, Division B - Contemporary: Second Place. Awarded for artwork polychrome bowl
  • 1976 Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibit, Classification X - Pottery, Division B - Contemporary: Honorable Mention. Awarded for artwork: White bowl with rain dance design

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

 

Santa Clara Pueblo

The Puye Cliff Ruins
Ruins at Puye Cliffs, Santa Clara Pueblo

Santa Clara Pueblo straddles the Rio Grande about 25 miles north of Santa Fe. Of all the pueblos, Santa Clara has the largest number of potters.

The ancestral roots of the Santa Clara people have been traced to the pueblos in the Mesa Verde region in southwestern Colorado. When that area began to get dry between about 1100 and 1300, some of the people migrated to the Chama River Valley and constructed Poshuouinge (about 3 miles south of what is now Abiquiu on the edge of the mesa above the Chama River). Eventually reaching two and three stories high with up to 700 rooms on the ground floor, Poshuouinge was inhabited from about 1375 to about 1475. Drought then again forced the people to move, some of them going to the area of Puye (on the eastern slopes of the Pajarito Plateau of the Jemez Mountains) and others to Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo, along the Rio Grande). Beginning around 1580, drought forced the residents of the Puye area to relocate closer to the Rio Grande and they founded what we now know as Santa Clara Pueblo on the west bank of the river, between San Juan and San Ildefonso Pueblos.

In 1598 Spanish colonists from nearby Yunque (the seat of Spanish government near San Juan Pueblo) brought the first missionaries to Santa Clara. That led to the first mission church being built around 1622. However, the Santa Clarans chafed under the weight of Spanish rule like the other pueblos did and were in the forefront of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. One pueblo resident, a mixed black and Tewa man named Domingo Naranjo, was one of the rebellion's ringleaders. When Don Diego de Vargas came back to the area in 1694, he found most of the Santa Clarans on top of nearby Black Mesa (with the people of San Ildefonso). An extended siege didn't subdue them so eventually, the two sides negotiated a treaty and the people returned to their pueblo. However, successive invasions and occupations by northern Europeans took their toll on the tribe over the next 250 years. The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 almost wiped them out.

Today, Santa Clara Pueblo is home to as many as 2,600 people and they comprise probably the largest per capita number of artists of any North American tribe (estimates of the number of potters run as high as 1-in-4 residents).

Today's pottery from Santa Clara is typically either black or red. It is usually highly polished and designs might be deeply carved or etched ("sgraffito") into the pot's surface. The water serpent, ("avanyu"), is a traditional design motif of Santa Clara pottery. Another motif comes from the legend that a bear helped the people find water during a drought. The bear paw has appeared on their pottery ever since.

One of the reasons for the distinction this pueblo has received is because of the evolving artistry the potters have brought to the craft. Not only did this pueblo produce excellent black and redware, several notable innovations helped move pottery from the realm of utilitarian vessels into the domain of art. Different styles of polychrome redware emerged in the 1920's-1930's. In the early 1960's experiments with stone inlay, incising and double firing began. Modern potters have also extended the tradition with unusual shapes, slips and designs, illustrating what one Santa Clara potter said: "At Santa Clara, being non-traditional is the tradition." (This refers strictly to artistic expression; the method of creating pottery remains traditional).

Santa Clara Pueblo is home to a number of famous pottery families: Tafoya, Baca, Gutierrez, Naranjo, Suazo, Chavarria, Garcia, Vigil, Tapia - to name a few.

Harvest, Santa Clara Pueblo c. 1912 Courtesy Museum of New Mexico Neg. No. 4128

Santa Clara Pueblo c. 1920 Courtesy Museum of New Mexico Neg. No. 4214
Map showing the location of Santa Clara Pueblo
For more info:
at Wikipedia
Pueblos of the Rio Grande, Daniel Gibson, ISBN-13:978-1-887896-26-9, Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2001
Upper photo courtesy of Einar Kvaran, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License


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

 

Asmallpolychromeweddingvasewithatwistedhandleanddecoratedwithatwo-panelbird,flowerandgeometricdesign, Click or tap to see a larger version
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Lois Gutierrez, Santa_Clara, Asmallpolychromeweddingvasewithatwistedhandleanddecoratedwithatwo-panelbird,flowerandgeometricdesign
Lois Gutierrez
Santa Clara
$ SOLD
dbsc4d363
A small polychrome wedding vase with a twisted handle and decorated with a two-panel bird, flower and geometric design
3 in L by 4.25 in W by 4.5 in H
Condition: Excellent
Signature: -Lois-
Date Created: 1985

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

The Story of
the Wedding Vase

as told by Teresita Naranjo of Santa Clara Pueblo

Wedding vase by Helen Naha

Helen Naha
Hopi
Red wedding vase with sgraffito geometric design

Wilma Baca Tosa
Jemez Pueblo
Avanyu design carved into a black wedding vase

Margaret Tafoya
Santa Clara Pueblo




The Wedding Vase has been used for a long, long time in Indian Wedding Ceremonies.

After a period of courtship, when a boy and girl decide to get married, they cannot do so until certain customs have been observed. The boy must first call all his relatives together to tell them that he desires to be married to a certain girl. If the relatives agree, two or three of the oldest men are chosen to call on the parents of the girl. They pray according to Indian custom and the oldest man will tell the parents of the girl what their purpose is in visiting. The girl's parents never give a definite answer at this time, but just say that they will let the boy's family know their decision later.

About a week later, the girl calls a meeting of her relatives. The family then decides what answer should be given. If the answer is “no” that is the end of it. If the answer is “yes” then the oldest men in her family are delegated to go to the boy's home, and to give the answer, and to tell the boy on what day he can come to receive his bride-to-be. The boy must also notify all of his relatives on what day the girl will receive him, so that they will be able to have gifts for the girl.

Now the boy must find a Godmother and Godfather. The Godmother immediately starts making the wedding vase so that it will be finished by the time the girl is to be received. The Godmother also takes some of the stones which have been designated as holy and dips them into water, to make it holy water. It is with this holy water that the vase is filled on the day of the reception.

The reception day finally comes and the Godmother and Godfather lead the procession of the boy's relatives to the home of the girl. The groom is the last in line and must stand at the door of the bride's home until the gifts his relatives have brought have been opened and received by the bride.

The bride and groom now kneel in the middle of the room with the groom's relatives and the bride's parents praying all around them. The bride then gives her squash blossom necklace to the groom's oldest male relative, while the groom gives his necklace to the bride's oldest male relative. After each man has prayed, the groom's necklace is placed on the bride, and the bride's is likewise placed on the groom.

After the exchange of squash blossom necklaces and prayers, the Godmother places the wedding vase in front of the bride and groom. The bride drinks out of one side of the wedding vase and the groom drinks from the other. Then, the vase is passed to all in the room, with the women all drinking from the bride's side, and the men from the groom's.

After the ritual drinking of the holy water and the prayers, the bride's family feeds all the groom's relatives and a date is set for the church wedding. The wedding vase is now put aside until after the church wedding.

Once the church wedding ceremony has occurred, the wedding vase is filled with any drink the family may wish. Once again, all the family drinks in the traditional manner, with women drinking from one side, and men the other. Having served its ceremonial purpose, the wedding vase is given to the young newlyweds as a good luck piece.