One of six Loretto sisters from Jemez Pueblo, Alma is part of a pottery dynasty.
Her sisters are Mary Toya, Fannie Loretto, Lupe Lucero, Edna Coriz, and Dorothy Trujillo; noted pottery artists, all.
This large Koshare figure demonstrates Alma’s minimalist, and graphic style.
Features are painted on, with little natural detail, but the figures are posed with animation.
In a bit of innovation, notice the ears of the Grandpa Koshare, with their dangling, beaded earrings, and the moccasins on the seated figures.
Also, see the indented belly button, just above his black kilt!
The entire piece is traditionally made, by hand, from gathering the local clay to coiling, smoothing, firing in the ground, and painting.
Here, the black and white stripes that characterize the Pueblo clowns (Koshares) are accented with red Jemez base clay, creating a vigorous, eye-catching palette.
The white is a natural clay slip, and the black comes from wild spinach plants.
Koshares are supposed to burlesque inappropriate behavior, which is why they are often seen with a watermelon, as here.
It is easy to look boorish while eating watermelon, and that is universally understood.
Following her preferred style, the slice of melon is abstract and minimal.
Two of the little Koshares have the traditional dried corn husks spouting from their horns, while the third just has cloth fringe.
The little one, that appears above the Grandpa’s head, is hanging on so that there is something interesting to see from every angle of the piece.
Large, boldly painted, and delightful, this is a wonderful piece by a well-reputed potter, and a really good buy, too.