Golden micaceous jar with fire clouds New Arrival this week
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Robert Vigil, Nambe, Golden micaceous jar with fire clouds New Arrival this week
Artist: Robert Vigil
Pueblo: Nambe
Dimensions: 5 1/4 in H by 5 3/4 in Dia
Item Number: xxnal7080
Price: $ 150
Description: Golden micaceous jar with fire clouds New Arrival this week
Condition: Excellent
Signature: Robert Vigil Nambe
Date Created: 2017
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Robert Vigil

Nambe
Robert Vigil of Nambe Pueblo
Orange micaceous jar
 

Half Nambe Pueblo and half Non-Pueblo, Robert Vigil was born to parents Joe and Alice Vigil in 1965. He first learned the method of making pots with clay coils while in high school in Texas. Then he returned to the pueblo and began to learn from folks like Virginia Gutierrez, his cousin Lonnie Vigil and then from Juan Tafoya of San Ildefonso Pueblo. He has been active as a Nambe potter since 1990 working with micaceous jars, bowls, vases, figures and polished redware. Robert does not create giant storage jars like his cousin Lonnie as he much prefers to work on a smaller, more intimate scale, and coloring his micaceous pots with fire clouds and other variations produced by the oxygen reduction method of firing. There is an elegant purity to his simplistic and understated forms, a deep reflection of his soft spoken manner and gentle spirit.

Robert has told us he prefers the simple shapes and forms and even his carving is gentle. He gets his inspiration from the clay: "I just sit down and start and the clay forms itself through my hands." He's lately been teaching others at his pueblo how to make pottery the traditional way as he doesn't want to see that tradition get lost over time.

He has participated in shows at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, at the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts and Crafts Show and at the First Micaceous Pottery Market in 1995 in Santa Fe.

Pieces of Robert's pottery are on display at the Minneapolis Art Institute in Minneapolis, MN, and at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA.


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Nambé Pueblo

Nambe Pueblo kiva
The main kiva at Nambé Pueblo

Nambé Pueblo was settled in the early 1300's when a group of Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi) made their way from what is now the Bandelier National Monument area closer to the Rio Grande in search of more reliable water sources and more arable land.

At first they settled mostly high in the mountains, coming down to the river valleys in the summer to grow crops. Eventually, they felt safe enough to stay in the valleys and the high mountain villages were slowly abandoned.

When the Spanish first arrived, they found Nambé to be a primary economic, cultural and religious center for the area. That attracted a large Spanish presence and the nature of that presence caused the Nambé people to join wholeheartedly in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and throw out the Spanish oppressors.

When the Spanish returned in 1692, their rule was significantly less harsh. However, the Spanish were responsible for bringing horses into the New World and as the Spanish population increased, so did the number of horses. That brought more and more raids from the Comanches as they came for horses and whatever else of value they could carry away. The Comanches were finally subdued by Governor Juan Bautista de Anza in the 1770's but by then, the impact of European diseases was being strongly felt. It was a smallpox epidemic in the late 1820's that virtually ended the making of pottery at Nambé.

The Nambé pottery tradition is similar to that of Taos and Picuris in their use of micaceous clay slips but Nambé potters also used to produce white on red and black on black products. When Lonnie Vigil began producing his micaceous clay masterpieces about 25 years ago, he almost single-handedly jump-started the revival of pottery making in the pueblo.

Location map for Nambe Pueblo


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Pottery Care & Consideration

  • The most obvious tip: Yes, the pots will break if you drop them!
  • Do not expose pottery to water (Inside or outside). Do not wipe with a damp cloth.
  • Dust pottery only with a soft, smooth cloth (no terry cloth or textured fabric). A very soft paintbrush (sable or camel) can be used.
  • Always use two hands to carry your pot: one on top and one on the bottom, or one hand on each side. Be careful with handles, they can be fragile. Do not grip or lift pots by the rim. Take care when wearing jewelry, rings can scratch the finish.
  • Place a piece of felt or cloth between the pot and the shelf to protect the signature.
  • Avoid exposing pottery to extreme temperature changes.

For those who live in "earthquake country" (also good for mischievous pets):

  • Weigh pots down with a small zip lock bag containing sand, glass marbles, rice, etc. Do not fill the pot more than one third full as you want them bottom heavy. Remember to remove the weight before moving.
  • Secure your shelves; make sure they are well attached to the walls. Shelf brackets should be of sufficient length and strength to support the weight of your pottery.
  • Prevent pots from sliding. Consider attaching a small wooden molding to the front of shelves. Line shelves with non-slip material (a thin sheet of rubber foam, Styrofoam sheeting, etc.)
  • If you need assistance with special problems, major cleaning (your grandchild spills ice cream on your pot), restoration or repair (the cat breaks a pot), or replacement (irreparable damage), please feel free to call us.

We hope these ideas help you maintain the beauty and value of your pottery for years of enjoyment.

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