Thomas Tenorio is a very well-known and sought-after, award-winning pottery artist. He is adept at rigorously contemporary designs and equally compelling traditional ones, as seen in this stately jar. He is self-taught, learning by reading, consulting with established potters in his Pueblo, etc. Now, he teaches others.
This is a traditional Santo Domingo Pueblo piece, with a personal arrangement of the age-old elements. Of course, it has been entirely hand made in the old way: gathering, mixing, coiling, forming, smoothing, pit firing, and painting the designs with natural clay slips and plant-derived “paint”.
The lovely peach hue of the background is a mixture of natural white/beige and red clays. The red clay slip is seen at the bottom, around the interior of the neck, and as accents within the painted pattern. Around the neck, the flower and bird designs are typical of Pueblo pottery, at Santo Domingo, and elsewhere. The painting here is especially charming and graceful.
The main body of the jar is covered in a series of bands containing various geometric shapes. These are arranged symmetrically, with the broader, center band completely different from the two at top and bottom, which mirror each other. Black, wild-spinach paint is a forceful contrast to the peachy background, and the accents of russet-red clay slip integrates the whole color scheme and design.
Tall, beautifully formed and decorated, this jar is a majestic and handsome example of this fine potter’s art. N.B. It is called a jar, but NEVER put water in it! You will return it to earth – that is, mud. Enjoy its beauty as it stands.