Miniature Sgraffito Olla

Kevin Naranjo


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A tiny jewel of a jar, by a younger artist known for his award-winning, miniature pottery with intricate designs.

Kevin is a son of Geri Naranjo, nephew of Dolores Curran, and related to many other artists in this renowned pottery clan.

This jar, like most of his work, is characterized by an elegant form, shapely neck, and a multitude of tiny designs scratched out of the gleaming, stone-polished surface.

The entire piece was fully polished, then pit-fired. The black color comes from a chemical reaction when dried, powdered sheep or horse manure smothers the flames, when at their hottest.

Starting at the top, there are bear paws and a deer track around the neck, then a beautifully etched Avanyu (Water Serpent) with a lightning line.

A fence-like row of vertical feathers, march almost all the way around, with kiva steps in between. Below the feathers is the barren, dry land that is clearly going through a drought.

The feathers are symbols for prayers, and here the hope is for the Avanyu to answer the prayers and provide enough rain to produce a good harvest.

Traditionally made, of course, with hand-gathered clay, hand-mixed and coiled, stone-polished, then fired in the ground.

The many, fabulously exact designs were scratched out, after the pot cooled.

This astonishingly detailed little jar is signed on the bottom, in the clay.

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