One of a renowned family of potters at Cochiti Pueblo, Jan has won countless prizes for her wonderful figures.
Figures are a centuries-old tradition at Cochiti, continuing to the present. The beloved storytellers were first created by potters here.
This figure, known as the Rain God, actually was invented by an Anglo merchant in the 1800’s, to sell to tourists!
It was inspired by Pre-Columbian pottery figures, and proved to be a resounding and lasting hit with collectors.
Like all M. J.’s work, this fellow is hand-coiled of local clay, which was hand-gathered.
Smoothed and burnished, it is painted with rain cloud and rainfall symbols, and a vigorous cornstalk on its back – the result of ample rain.
Every step was hand done, of course.
The red accents are a natural clay slip, and the black paint comes from steeped wild spinach leaves.
The size of this piece is larger than the usual examples, and the whole figure is beautifully created in her award-winning style.
With its rounded and simplified forms, smooth finish, and precise designs, this is instantly recognizable as a Mary Janice Ortiz, and a wonderful example of her work.