Mother of major prize-winning potters and a sculptor (the celebrated Cliff Fragua), she herself is noted for her importance in reviving and revitalizing traditional pottery-making at Jemez Pueblo. She taught children (including award-winners Betty Jean Fragua and Glendora Fragua), and turned the Pueblo’s reputation for “tourist” work into honored art. And, at age 80, she still produces lovely stone-polished pieces like this graphic little olla.
Nicely formed and proportioned, it has a pleasingly graphic design, using red clay slip and dark brown/black wild spinach-derived paint.
The flowering vine that curls across the shoulder almost meets the arrowhead at the other end – very like the Avanyu, or Water Serpent that is a traditional Pueblo good luck symbol. Water makes plants grow, and is scarce in the high desert.
Dramatic but mellow colors are all natural, and the repeating pattern of triangular shapes adds both energy and harmony to the piece. Juanita has recently been recognized as a “Local “Treasure”. This olla is a piece to treasure, without emptying your treasury!.