Grandmother Rose Naranjo, mother Bernice, nephew Jonathan, aunt Nora Naranjo-Morse, cousins Roxanne Swentzell, Jody Naranjo, Susan Folwell, and Polly Rose Folwell, are major award-winners all, and legendary figures in Native pottery.
With relatives like that, it’s a given that clay probably runs in your veins, and Dusty Naranjo’s work continues the illustrious family tradition.
She has also earned a BA in psychology, and then earned her MA in Art Therapy.
At the same time, she has spent most of the last 20 years honing her pottery skills and has earning major awards at the most prestigious Native art shows, nationwide.
Here, her characteristically well-formed piece is entirely made according to tradition: hand-gathered clay, hand-mixed, -coiled, -stone polished, -incised, and fired in the ground.
The luscious, sepia-brown hue is a family tradition, and has been adapted by other potters, as well.
The distinctive warm brown color, favored by the Naranjo family, is created by torching the black surface formed by smothering the pot in dried sheep or horse manure during firing in the ground.
After stone polishing, by hand, the torch is applied to the areas desired;the final step is etching and carving the designs.
Depending on how much heat is applied, the warm brown are lighter or darker.
This explains why the rim and neck are black and black/brown, and not polished.
Beautifully designed to emphasize the form of the pot, the design is contemporary, but features traditional symbols arranged in a novel way.
Right under the rim, a duo of dragonflies flit within a rectangular border, on both sides of the pot.
A border of meticulously etched storm signs seem to be part of a cloth, draped over the shoulder of the piece.
Below, on one side, sweeping wind and water symbols are dramatically enlarged, with lightly scratched squiggles within them.
On the other side, narrow bands of similarly etched designs flank a sharply pointed vertical motif that ends in a water spiral.
A decorative turtle is carved on one of the sides, surmounting more water and storm signs; turtles live in water, so are good luck – as is water and rain!
The other narrow end is mostly polished and plain, with more wind/storm cloud symbols.
Aside from the dynamic and expertly composed patterns, the base of the clay is textured, in contrast to the polished and etched designs.
A plumply wonderful pot by a major artist, at a happy price for collectors.