Black jar with sienna rim, micaceous black base, and carved with an avanyu design with an inlaid stone made by Dora Tse Pe of San Ildefonso
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Dora Tse Pe, San Ildefonso, Black jar with sienna rim, micaceous black base, and carved with an avanyu design with an inlaid stone
Dora Tse Pe
San Ildefonso
$ SOLD
rwsi0k103
Black jar with sienna rim, micaceous black base, and carved with an avanyu design with an inlaid stone
6 in H by 4 3/4 in Dia
Condition: Excellent
Signature: Dora of San Ildefonso
Date Created: 1995


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We keep all your information private and will not sell or give it away for any reason, EVER!

 

Dora Tse Pe

San Ildefonso
An avanyu design lightly carved into a red jar with an inlaid turquoise, kiva-step cut rim and micaceous slip around the rim
 

Dora Gachupin was born at Zia Pueblo in 1939 to parents Candelaria Medina of Zia and Tony Gachupin of Jemez. She married Johnnie "Tse-Pe" Gonzales of San Idelfonso when she was about 20 and contrary to the ancient tradition, moved to his home from Zia (the Pueblo people are generally matrilineal and home is usually where the wife's family resides). She had grown up learning the Zia pottery designs and shapes but at San Ildefonso, Dora was exposed to the highly polished red and blackware that Rose Gonzales, her mother-in-law, made. "We didn't polish at Zia", Dora has said, "we used slips and plant and mineral paints." It was from Rose that she learned polishing and other San Ildefonso and San Juan styles and techniques. She said about Rose, "I love her work, and I love carving. And I love the water serpent. It depicts water - rain, thanksgiving and prayer for water. It's a San Ildefonso trademark. I like to make my serpent really simple and graceful. You'll notice that Santa Clara serpents look almost oriental, all the curves on the backs and all. Mine are very plain."

Other exceptional potters who have influenced Dora over the years include Popovi Da with his two-tone black and sienna ware and Tony Da with his use of stone inlay. Dora’s work often includes turquoise or coral inlays on pots that also include combinations of black and sienna with micaceous slips. Her innovative style has sometimes been called "contemporary" and she often works with both polished clay and dull or micaceous clays in the same piece. However, she says she doesn't like that "contemporary" term and considers herself and her work to be traditional.

She has won many awards including Master Potter at Santa Fe Indian Market. Dora believes in quality not quantity and sees her art to be a gift from God. "It gives me pleasure to create beauty from the earth," she says.

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San Ildefonso Pueblo

Sacred Black Mesa
Black Mesa at San Ildefonso Pueblo

San Ildefonso Pueblo is located about twenty miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, mostly on the eastern bank of the Rio Grande. Although their ancestry has been traced as far back as abandoned pueblos in the Mesa Verde area in southwestern Colorado, the most recent ancestral home of the people of San Ildefonso is in the area of Bandelier National Monument, the prehistoric villages of Tyuonyi, Otowi, Navawi and Tsankawi specifically. The area of Tsankawi abuts the reservation on its northwest side.

The San Ildefonso name was given to the village in 1617 when a mission church was established. Before then the village was called Powhoge, "where the water cuts through" (in Tewa). Today's pueblo was established as long ago as the 1300's and when the Spanish arrived in 1540 they estimated the village population at about 2,000.

That village mission was destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and when Don Diego de Vargas returned to reclaim the San Ildefonso area in 1694, he found virtually the entire tribe on top of nearby Black Mesa. After an extended siege the two sides negotiated a treaty and the people returned to their village. However, the next 250 years were not good for them. Finally, the Spanish swine flu pandemic of 1918 reduced the tribe's population to about 90. The tribe's population has increased to more than 600 today but the only economic activity available for most on the pueblo involves the creation of art in one form or another. The only other jobs are off-pueblo. San Ildefonso's population is small compared to neighboring Santa Clara Pueblo, but the pueblo maintains its own religious traditions and ceremonial feast days.

San Ildefonso has produced fine ceramic art since early pre-Columbian times. The pueblo is most known for being the home of the most famous Pueblo Indian potter, Maria Martinez. Many other excellent potters have produced quality pottery from this pueblo, too, among them: Blue Corn, Tonita and Juan Roybal, Dora Tse Pe and Rose Gonzales. Of course the descendants of Maria Martinez are still important pillars of San Ildefonso's pottery tradition. Maria's influence reached far and wide, so far and wide that even Juan Quezada, founder of the Mata Ortiz pottery renaissance in Chihuahua, Mexico, came to San Ildefonso to learn from her.

San Ildefonso Pueblo location map

For more info:
at Wikipedia
official website
Pueblos of the Rio Grande, by Daniel Gibson
Photo is in the public domain

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Micaceous Clay Pottery

Golden micaceous prayer jar with fire clouds

Angie Yazzie
Taos
Micaceous black sculptural piece

Christine McHorse
Navajo
A lidded golden micaceous bean pot

Clarence Cruz
San Juan/Ohkay Owingeh


Micaceous clay pots are the only truly functional Pueblo pottery still being made. Some special micaceous pots can be used directly on the stove or in the oven for cooking. Some are also excellent for food storage. Some people say the best beans and chili they ever tasted were cooked in a micaceous bean pot. Whether you use them for cooking or storage or as additions to your collection of fine art, micaceous clay pots are a beautiful result of centuries of Pueblo pottery making.

Between Taos and Picuris Pueblos is US Hill. Somewhere on US Hill is a mica mine that has been in use for centuries. Excavations of ancient ruins and historic homesteads across the Southwest have found utensils and cooking pots that were made of this clay hundreds of years ago.

Not long ago, though, the making of micaceous pottery was a dying art. There were a couple potters at Taos and at Picuris still making utilitarian pieces but that was it. Then Lonnie Vigil felt the call, returned to Nambe Pueblo from Washington DC and learned to make the pottery he became famous for. His success brought others into the micaceous art marketplace.

Micaceous pots have a beautiful shimmer that comes from the high mica content in the clay. Mica is a composite mineral of aluminum and/or magnesium and various silicates. The Pueblos were using large sheets of translucent mica to make windows prior to the Spaniards arriving. It was the Spanish who brought a technique for making glass. There are eight mica mining areas in northern New Mexico with 54 mines spread among them. Most micaceous clay used in the making of modern Pueblo pottery comes from several different mines near Taos Pueblo.

As we understand it, potters Robert Vigil and Clarence Cruz have said there are two basic kinds of micaceous clay that most potters use. The first kind is extremely micaceous with mica in thick sheets. While the clay and the mica it contains can be broken down to make pottery, that same clay has to be used to form the entire final product. It can be coiled and scraped but that final product will always be thicker, heavier and rougher on the surface. This is the preferred micaceous clay for making utilitarian pottery and utensils. It is essentially waterproof and conducts heat evenly.

The second kind is the preferred micaceous clay for most non-functional fine art pieces. It has less of a mica content with smaller embedded pieces of mica. It is more easily broken down by the potters and more easily made into a slip to cover a base made of other clay. Even as a slip, the mica serves to bond and strengthen everything it touches. The finished product can be thinner and have a smoother surface. As a slip, it can also be used to paint over other colors of clay for added effect. However, these micaceous pots may be a bit more water resistant than other Pueblo pottery but they are not utilitarian and will not survive utilitarian use.

While all micaceous clay from the area of Taos turns golden when fired, it can also be turned black by firing in an oxygen reduction atmosphere. Black fire clouds are also a common element on golden micaceous pottery.

Mica is a relatively common component of clay, it's just not as visible in most. Potters at Hopi, Zuni and Acoma have produced mica-flecked pottery in other colors using finely powdered mica flakes. Some potters at San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Jemez and San Juan use micaceous slips to add sparkle to their pieces.

Potters from the Jicarilla Apache Nation collect their micaceous clay closer to home in the Jemez Mountains. The makeup of that clay is different and it fires to a less golden/orange color than does Taos clay. Some clay from the Picuris area fires less golden/orange, too. Christine McHorse, a Navajo potter who married into Taos Pueblo, uses various micaceous clays on her pieces depending on what the clay asks of her in the flow of her creating.

There is nothing in the makeup of a micaceous pot that would hinder a good sgraffito artist or light carver from doing her or his thing. There are some who have learned to successfully paint on a micaceous surface. The undecorated sparkly surface in concert with the beauty of simple shapes is a real testament to the artistry of the micaceous potter.


Double shouldered golden micaceous jar with a flared rim and fire clouds

Lonnie Vigil
Nambe
A micaceous black Corn Maiden figure wearing a tablita

Robert Vigil
Nambe
White seed pot with a sculpted Shifting Sands design surface with tiny flecks of mica and an inlaid stone

Preston Duwyenie
Hopi
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Gonzales 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.


    Ramona Sanchez Gonzales (1885-?), second wife of Juan Gonzales (painter)
    • Rose Gonzales (daughter-in-law) (1900-1989) & Robert Gonzales
      • (Johnnie) Tse-Pe (Gonzales)(1940-2000) & Dora Tse-Pe (Gachupin, first wife, Zia, b. 1939)
        • Andrea Tse Pe (b. 1975)
        • Candace Tse-Pe (b. 1968)
        • Gerri Tse-Pe (b. 1963)
        • Irene Tse-Pe (b. 1961)
        • Jennifer Tse-Pe (1960-1977)
      • (Johnnie) Tse-Pe (1940-2000) & Jennifer Tse Pe (Sisneros - second wife, Santa Clara)
    • Blue Corn (Crucita Gonzales Calabaza)(1921-1999)(step-daughter of Ramona) & Santiago Calabaza (Santo Domingo) (d. 1972)
      • Diane Calabaza-Jenkins (b. 1955)
      • Lucille Calabaza-King
      • Sophia Calabaza
      • Stacey Calabaza
      • He'Shi Flower (b. 1955)
      • Krieg Kalavaza
    • Lorenzo Gonzales (1922-1995)(adopted by Louis & Juanita Gonzales) & Delores Naquayoma (Hopi/Winnebago)
      • Jeanne M. Gonzales (b. 1959)
      • John Gonzales (b. 1955)
      • Larencita Gonzales
      • Linda Gonzales
      • Marie Ann Gonzales
      • Raymond Gonzales
      • Robert Gonzales
    • Oqwa Pi (Abel Sanchez)(1899-1971) & Tomasena Cata Sanchez (1903-1985, Rose Gonzales sister)
        Skipped generation
        • Russell Sanchez (b. 1966)
    • Juanita Gonzales (1909-1988) & Louis "Wo-Peen" Gonzales (brother of Rose Gonzales husband)
      (Juanita Wo-Peen learned from Rose Gonzales)
      • Adelphia Martinez
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