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.