The Pottery of the Jemez
The pueblo of Jemez is the remaining member of a third Tanoan subfamily, the Towa. It is located on Jemez Creek, or the Rio Jemez, west of Santa Fe in the mountains of the Jemez Range. The history of pottery at Jemez is one of absence and rebirth. The pueblo abandoned their traditional fine-line, black-on-white designs, at the time of the Pueblo Rebellion which brought turmoil and dislocation. It is rare to find a Jemez piece from Spanish times even in the better museums. A handful of potters made an effort to revive traditional pottery in the 1920"s, but nothing came of it. During the late 1960's, general interest in anything Indian picked up dramatically and the citizens of Jemez could see that higher-quality pottery was bringing much higher process. Although the early improvements involved switching from acrylics and poster paint to greenware, other artists like Mary Small and Mary E. Toya became champions of traditionally coiled, well-made pottery.