The Blessings Jar
Grandmother Rose Naranjo, mother Bernice, sister Dusty, aunt Nora Naranjo-Morse, cousins Roxanne Swentzell, Jody Naranjo, Susan Folwell, and Polly Rose Folwell; 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 Forrest Naranjo’s work continues the illustrious family tradition.
This beautiful jar is an example of the artist’s style: elegant forms, with exquisite polish and sgrafitto etching, decorated with dream-like animals, birds and other figures.
The finish is a rich reddish brown, a signature of the artist, who often prefers to manipulate the traditional firing process to achieve a range of browns, rather than the usual black of Santa Clara pottery.
Varying the amount of dried and powdered horse manure that smothers the flames, probably produces this luscious effect.
Here, the top of the voluptuously shaped jar is darker, while the base is almost the true color of the native red clay. All over, the hand-achieved stone polish is famously lustrous.
Rather than a dancing line of animals, the artist has captured them, on by one, in a series of hands – the ancient symbol of blessing and protection.
Almost all are prey animals; good hunting, and good food. Three exceptions are the the turtle, horse, and buffalo.
These comprise two icons of the Great Plains, and a symbol of water, fertility and long life.
Otherwise, we see a rabbit, deer, and fish. In addition, a figure of Kokopelli, blowing the seeds that make all things grow and flourish.
The hands holding each of these are scattered around the beautifully shaped jar, adding a frolicsome touch to the elegance of the pot.
Ancient good luck, traditional methodology, contemporary expertise and artistry, all in one lovely jar.