Christmas In Jemez Pueblo
For the month of December, we're featuring a theme - Christmas at Jemez Pueblo - in order to celebrate the holiday season as viewed through the American Indian artists creating the spectacular pottery of Jemez Pueblo. Jemez Pueblo or Walatowa is located in North-Central New Mexico, one hour northwest of Albuquerque and a little over an hour southwest of Santa Fe.
The Jemez people are quite well known for their special pottery artwork such as bowls, seed pots and wedding vases, however, they are best recognized for their pottery storytellers depicting the traditional mother surrounded by children or some form thereof. During the long cold winter months, when the earth and people are at rest, awaiting the sun’s return, storytelling is a nightly event among Jemez families. Elders tell family and tribal stories thus ensuring the vitality of tribal customs and history. The Jemez pottery storytellers commemorate this tradition in a beautiful way.
One of the most famous of Jemez pottery families is the Fraguas, and this season, they have produced a rich assortment of pottery pieces with a Christmas theme including Nativity sets, Christmas trees, angels, snowmen, ornaments, and Santa Clauses. Award winning pottery artist Clifford Kim Fragua, son of the late Grace L Fragua, even created a wonderful horse storyteller that represents a Jemez family journeying to a feast at another pueblo, a trip that could take as much as a week on horseback.
These items are truly exceptional holiday American Indian artwork as the Jemez pottery figures are all one-of-a-kind, usually a blend of traditional and contemporary styles, and made of natural clay found near the pueblo; each piece is hand-molded, air-dried, then painted in bright colors using natural clay slips before firing. Most importantly, each of these Christmas pieces has a face that truly expresses the joy of the holiday season. We hope that they will give some of that joy back to you. . .