Charming, appealing, adorable, cute…the adjectives could go on and on, but others that apply are “finely made”, “traditional” and “personal design”.
This award-winning potter started with a bang: a her first Santa Fe Indian Market she won ribbons for all six pieces she exhibited, including four First Place, in different sub-categories.
26 years on, she continues to be known for exemplary pieces, such as this blended-style bowl.
Noreen says she likes to “combine traditional Zuni pottery symbols with contemporary design elements of my own creation.” This unusual bowl is an example.
Natural clay has been coiled into a well-proportioned, round form, and smoothed to a flawlessly matte finish.
The unusual decoration at the rim is not painted, or carved, but sculpted: a multitude of little frogs hanging onto the rim and looking outward.
These are covered with a red clay slip with plant-derived black, and white clay, accents.
They start out with painted back legs, transitioning imperceptibly into full little sculptures.
And what are they goggle-eyed about? They seem to be looking for help for their fellow frog, trapped at the bottom of the bowl!
Their croaking must be pretty effective, because the traditional Zuni deer design is looking up, and rather startled.
All around the two deer ovals, traditional rain and plant symbols are dramatically and expertly painted.
Amusing, but also dramatically decorative in effect, yet traditional in subject – frogs are harbingers of good luck, since they live in and around water – and the deer motif is a traditional Zuni subject, referring to good hunting, and therefore, also good eating.
This bowl qualifies as modern and personal because the potter combined two different themes in one inventive and charming piece.
A prime example of award-winning Simplicio pottery.