Lois Gutierrez
Santa Clara

Birds of a Feather

8 1/2" H x 8 1/2" D


One of the best-known potters from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, Lois Gutierrez de la Cruz learned pottery-making from her mother, Petra Montoya Gutierrez. Her work revives but reinterprets polychrome (multi-colored) decoration, which had almost disappeared at Santa Clara.

She and her husband, Derek de la Cruz, make some of the most interesting pottery done in any pueblo today. They generally make large polychrome jars that frequently depict various aspects of traditional Pueblo life. Using many colors, Lois does "paintings" on her pots of Pueblo dances, scenes of everyday life, and occasionally wildlife.

Lois does the potting and painting of the pots and Derek (who is Hispanic) helps with the firing which is always done outdoors. It is also Derek who explores the Espanola Valley looking for minerals used to make the many colors of paints that give their pots their distinctive look.

Derek was quoted in Talking With the Clay as saying, "If you look hard enough you can find clay here and there all over the mountains, but you got to look for it. It doesn't just jump out at you. It is beautiful when you dig in it. The white clay looks like candy, white chocolate. When you're digging in it, you don't want to stop, it feels so neat."

Lois developed a very distinctive slip - by adding white to dark gold clay to make a buff colored background. Lois has said, "My favorite part is firing. When it fires good, you know that your time and hard work has been worth it."

In 1982, Lois and Derek won the BEST OF SHOW award at Santa Fe Indian Market. The resulting frenzied demand for their pottery so overwhelmed them that they have never done another show. They maintain a very low profile living a very traditional pueblo life.

Lois and Derek have pots in several museum collections: The Smithsonian in Washington DC.; the Museum of Man in San Diego; and the Amerind Foundation in Dragoon AZ.

Their work has been widely acclaimed in such prestigious forums as the Indian Market in Santa Fe where they have won first place several times, and in the collections of the Heard, Maxwell, and Southwest museums.

Lois is the sister of well known potters Goldenrod (Gloria Garcia), Minnie Vigil and Thelma Talachy.

Gallery Price: $1,980.00

Sale: $1,585.00
(plus sh/han)


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