August 24, 2008

21st-century pottery

'Talking with the Clay':  A window into Pueblo pottery todayContemporary pottery balances these tensions and communicates to travelers the core issues of American Indian identity in the 21st century.

Suburban Indians still return to their pueblos to dance in plazas on feast days, to listen to elders, to stay in touch with ever-extending families.

They nourish their connection to traditional culture at the risk of becoming, as one potter fears, "commuters playing Indian on the weekend." For those who live in the pueblos, creativity depends on distancing themselves from the looping electronic arpeggios and tinkle of slot machines pouring from the nearby tribal casino.

Potters look for ways to tell these stories--more complicated stories than the previous generations sought to tell. The designs they draw and carve on their bowls embrace irony and politics, tragedy and whimsy.

The line of stories and teachings handed down through the generations by the grandmothers and aunties still exists. But it follows a more wandering path, and potters worry that their children may not learn the full power of that ancestral lineage.
Comment:  I tend to like nontraditional pottery like this corn applique jar from potter Caroline Carpio. If I had a house, I'd fill it with art like this.

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