Marbleized clay jar with geometric design
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Calvin Analla Jr, Laguna, Marbleized clay jar with geometric design
Artist: Calvin Analla Jr
Pueblo: Laguna
Dimensions: 3 1/4 in H by 5 1/2 in Dia
Item Number: xxlaj8060
Price: $ SOLD
Description: Marbleized clay jar with geometric design
Condition: Excellent
Signature: C. Analla Jr. Paguate, N. Mex. Pueblo of Laguna
Date Created: 2018
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Calvin Analla Jr.

Calvin Analla Jr.
Black geometric design on a marbleized clay jar

Born in 1958, Calvin Analla Jr. is a traditional Laguna Pueblo potter from the village of Paguate, eight miles north of Old Laguna. His father, Calvin Analla Sr., is from Laguna, his mother, Velma Analla, is Navajo. Calvin began creating his style of potting in 1990 after observing his paternal grandmother, Evelyn Cheromiah and his aunt, Lee Ann Cheromiah, and experimenting with their methods, styles and designs.

His clay is harvested from local Laguna sources and his pots are molded and shaped using the traditional coil method. Polishing is achieved by rubbing smooth river stones against the damp pottery. What appears to be black paint is processed from cooking wild spinach and mixing the mineral hematite into the residue. The process is completed by firing the pots in red cedar and sheep manure in an in-ground fire pit.

In addition to Evelyn and Lee Ann Cheromiah, Calvin is related to two other famous potters: his sister Yvonne Analla Lucas and her husband, Hopi potter Steve Lucas. One day in his workshop Calvin was a bit short of clay and he asked Steve if he could spare a handful. Calvin's mixing of Hopi clay and his Laguna clay led to what is now Calvin's signature look. His pottery is also distinguished by very thin walls, scalloped rims and fine painted lines with details of sky elements and ancient designs.

Calvin has been making his pots for more than 20 years, participating in shows at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, The Eiteljorg Musum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, and the Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial along the way. He's earned a collection of Judge's Choice and 1st and 2nd Place ribbons over the years. Calvin sees his journey as contributing to a new expression for historic Laguna designs through his experiments with techniques and pottery processes.

Calvin says his favorite shapes to make are canteens and ollas. He also prefers working with marbleized clay and decorating his creations with ancient Laguna designs.

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Laguna Pueblo

After the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, many Puebloans were fearful of Spanish reprisals. Spanish militias returned in 1681 and again in 1689. That first return brought them as far north as Isleta and that pueblo was attacked, looted and burned. The second return saw troops marching up to Santa Ana and San Felipe, attacking, looting and burning both. In those years, when the Puebloans became aware of approaching Spanish forces they mostly scattered into the mountains and the Spanish found empty pueblos, easy to loot and easy to burn. When Don Diego de Vargas marched north in 1692, he was intent on reconquering Nuevo Mexico and re-establishing a long-term Spanish presence there. As the conquistadors who accompanied him were on a "do-or-die" mission, the reconquest took on a tenor quite different from the previous missions...

At first de Vargas followed a path of reconciliation with the pueblos but that was soon replaced with an iron fist that brought on a second revolt in 1696. The pueblos didn't fare so well the second time around and a large number of Pueblo warriors were executed while their wives and children were forced into slavery. When word of de Vargas actions got back to the King of Spain, he ordered de Vargas banned from the New World. However, most of the damage was already done.

Many modern historians say Laguna Pueblo was established between 1697 and 1699 by refugees seeking to avoid fighting with the Spanish. Many of those refugees had left the first pueblos approached by the Spanish in 1692. They had first scattered to more remote places like Acoma, Zuni and Hopi, or to more Spanish-friendly Isleta. However, the pressure of those refugees strained the resources of the other pueblos and quickly forced the refugees to consider starting a new existence in a newly-formed pueblo. The area of Laguna had been settled several hundred years previously by ancestors of today's tribe but had been abandoned during the periods of great drought that had brought the Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi) down from the Four Corners area to the areas where we now find the Rio Grande Pueblos. Some of the land under Laguna control has also been found to contain archaeological resources dating as far back as 3,000 BC. The prehistoric village of Pottery Mound is located just east of today's Laguna Pueblo boundary. Pottery Mound was abandoned long before the Spanish first arrived but archaeologists have followed the tracks left by Pottery Mound styles, shapes and designs to settlements in the Hopi mesas and the Four Corners area.

Over time, several villages were established in the area around Old Laguna and when the Lagunas were granted their own reservation, they were given about 500,000 acres of land, making Laguna one of the largest of all pueblos in terms of land. However, only about half the enrolled members of the tribe live at Laguna as many have been drawn to nearby Albuquerque in search of work.

Laguna and Acoma share the same language (Western Keresan), similar pottery styles and similar religious beliefs. However, pottery making almost died out at Laguna after the railroads arrived in New Mexico in 1880 and laid a primary east-west trackbed directly in front of the Laguna main pueblo. During that time period many Lagunas went to work on railroad construction crews and many of the traditional Laguna arts and crafts died out. Potterymaking never completely stopped at Laguna but by 1960 it was almost gone. Then in 1973 and again in 1974 Nancy Winslow taught two four-month arts and crafts classes at the pueblo. Among the 22 pueblo members in the first class were Evelyn Cheromiah and her daughters. Rick Dillingham quoted Evelyn Cheromiah as saying that after "looking at my mother's pottery-making tools, I got the urge of going back to making pottery." That was the beginning of today's renaissance in Laguna pottery.

Because of their geographic proximity, Laguna and Acoma clays are very similar. In some instances, it's very hard to determine if a particular pot is from Acoma or from Laguna. Laguna potters are more likely to temper their white clay with sand than with ground up pot shards like the Acomas do. Laguna geometric designs also tend to be bolder than Acoma designs while Laguna potters use Mimbres designs much more sparingly than do Acoma potters.

Location map of Laguna Pueblo

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Evelyn Cheromiah Family Tree

Disclaimer: This "family tree" is a best effort on our part to determine who the potters are in this family and arrange them in a generational order. The general information available is questionable so we have tried to show each of these diagrams to living members of each family to get their input and approval, too. This diagram is subject to change should we get better info.

    Evelyn Cheromiah (b. 1928)
    Her descendants who became potters:
    • Lee Ann Cheromiah (b. 1954)
    • Mary Cheromiah Victorino (b. ca. 1950's)
    • Wendy Cheromiah Kowemy
      • Wendell Kowemy (b. 1972)
    Her students:
    • Calvin Analla Jr. (b. 1958)

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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