A native of Laguna Pueblo, married into a noted family of Acoma potters, Thomas learned from his in-laws, but chose miniature pottery to avoid competing with them.
It is hard to believe his burly hands can construct such tiny and shapely pots!
He uses one fiber of a yucca leaf as a brush, and – in his own words – works “very carefully”!
Winner of countless awards for miniature pottery, all over the country, Thomas boards planes with his entire inventory tucked into a cigar box.
This tiny olla is a marvel: petals and animals are deeply, completely, carved out on top and around the middle.
For any pot, this would be a tour-de-force; in this size it seems almost a miracle.
This is a re-creation of an historic pot that Tom replicated from a photograph in a reference book, like most of his pieces.
The top of the olla is carved out into leaves, or petals, so the little lid forms the center of a flower, when viewed from above.
Various animals, including a jaguar, coil around the body of the piece, looking rather friendly.
They are also carved out, and support the petal layer.
This is astonishing work, done completely by hand, and with traditional methods, from hand-gathered clay to the clay slip and vegetal pigments.
It would be a wonderful addition to a miniature collection, or a terrific start for one.