Red Figural Vase with Scalloped RimGlendora Fragua
From Jemez Pueblo, with family ties to San Ildefonso Pueblo as well, she is considered to be “at the top of the ladder” among Jemez potters.
Her specialty of sgrafitto technique – designs that are scratched or etched into the clay – has brought her the respect and admiration of serious collectors and prestigious show judges.
Using all natural materials and pigments, the entire surface is embellished with a lively collection of precise, yet graceful, designs.
The dramatic color palette consists of the beige base clay, red and cream clay slips, a “paint” derived from boiling wild spinach plants, and some skillful combining of these.
Cornstalks, flowers and water symbols are combined in a densely decorative pattern that resembles embroidery on the burnished red background – a trademark of the artist.
The central figures incorporate stepped rain symbols and stylized feathers around their heads.
Angular lightning bolts reach out to the graceful swirls of water signs.
The cornstalks placed between the figures represent the result of praying for a balance between sun and rain – a bountiful crop.
Therefore, this whole piece signifies the wish for health, happiness and abundance.
Notice how the teardrop forms of the flower petals relate to the scalloped border around the rim, and the tapered form of the piece itself.
Every element harmonizes with the others, to produce a masterful work by this justly celebrated, prize-winning artist.
Not just delightfully decorative, this piece is filled with good luck, too.