Large golden micaceous bowl with a sgraffito fish design inside made by Clarence Cruz of San Juan
Click or tap to see a larger version

Clarence Cruz, San Juan, Large golden micaceous bowl with a sgraffito fish design inside
Clarence Cruz
San Juan
$ 295
zzsj1k120m1
Large golden micaceous bowl with a sgraffito fish design inside
4 in H by 11.25 in Dia
Condition: Excellent
Signature: Khuu Khaayay Ohkay Owingeh
Date Created: 2021


Tell me more!   Buy this piece!
*
*
*
Best way to contact you:
Email:  Phone: 

-

Every box is required. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!

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

*
*
*
Best way to contact you:
Email:  Phone: 
Your billing address:




-

Every box is required. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!

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

 

Clarence Cruz

Ohkay Owingeh
(formerly San Juan)
 
Beautiful golden micaceous bowl
 

Ohkay Owingeh (formerly known as San Juan Pueblo) has a long history of pottery-making. Archaeologists even date certain timespans in the Pueblo II era by the San Juan Polychrome and San Juan Blackware pot sherds that have been found in many digs. The styles were so striking for the time that archaeologists have been able to reconstruct trade routes by the date of appearance of those styles in different pueblos. But the art of making pottery the traditional way is not so widespread at Ohkay Owingeh these days.

Clarence Cruz is from Ohkay Owingeh and a graduate of the BFA and MFA programs in Studio Arts at the University of New Mexico. Clarence also served an internship at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and, with that, added a minor in Museum Studies to his BFA.

Clarence likes to gather all his materials himself, collecting his clays, slips, volcanic ash, mineral pigments and Rocky Mountain beeweed (for making black paint and for use as a binder) on public lands in northern New Mexico. He does all his firing the traditional way: outdoors using wood, bark and manure for reduction firing, oxidation firing and open firing (to create fire clouds).

Clarence teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in Pueblo Pottery at the University of New Mexico. He also shares his knowledge and experience in the Art and Design Department at Santa Fe Community College and in Native communities.

Because of his dedication and contributions to the art of traditional Pueblo pottery, the Southwest Association of Indian Arts and the Santa Fe Indian Market awarded Clarence the Lifetime Achievement Allan Houser Legacy Award Honoring Pueblo Potters in 2012. Clarence has also had the opportunity to travel to China as part of a UNM faculty exhibition at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute. UNM also hired Clarence as Consultant Curator for the Inaugural Exhibition for the Alfonso Ortiz Center at the University's Maxwell Museum of Anthropology.

Print this biography

 

San Juan Pueblo

San Juan Pueblo Mission
San Juan Pueblo Mission

In 2005 San Juan Pueblo officially changed its name back to the original name (before the Spanish arrived): Ohkay Owingeh (meaning: Place of the strong people). The pueblo was founded around 1200 AD during the time of the great Southwest drought and migrations. The people speak Tewa and may have come to the Rio Grande area from southwestern Colorado or from the San Luis Valley in central Colorado.

Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate took control of the pueblo in 1598, renaming it San Juan de los Caballeros (after his patron saint, John the Baptist). He established the first Spanish capitol of Nuevo Mexico across the Rio Grande in an area he named San Gabriel. In 1608, the capitol was moved south to an uninhabited area that became the Santa Fe we know today.

After 80 years of progressively deteriorating living conditions under the Spanish, the tribe participated in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (one of the revolt's ringleaders, Popé, was a San Juan native) and helped to expel the Spanish from Nuevo Mexico for 12 years. However, when the Spanish returned in 1692 that tribal unity had fallen apart and the individual pueblos were relatively easy for the Spanish to reconquer.

Today, Ohkay Owingeh is the largest Tewa-speaking pueblo (in population and land) but few of the younger generations are interested in carrying on with many of the tribe's traditional arts and crafts (such as the making of pottery). The pueblo is home to the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, the Oke-Oweenge Arts Cooperative, the San Juan Lakes Recreation Area and the Ohkay Casino & Resort. The tribe's Tsay Corporation is one of northern New Mexico's largest private employers.

San Juan Pueblo location map

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

Print this Pueblo Information

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
Print this Style Information