In 2012 Clarence Cruz was honored with the Allan Houser Lifetime Achievement Award at Indian Market, and this magnificent jar is a perfect example of why.
The size and the micaceous clay of this jar is reminiscent of the storage jars of the 1800s. This jar was fired using oxygen reduction process. The entire piece is covered during the firing creating a deprivation of oxygen, which results in a rich black jar. The mica leaves tiny sparkles throughout the pottery adding to its unique beauty.
Geometric designs are carved just below the shoulder. The designs include four distinct rainbows and clouds in an arched pattern. Separating these are a series of concentric triangles, suggesting rain clouds. The lower section of this wonderful jar is filled with eight panels with mature corn stalks. For the pueblo people, corn is a cornerstone of their food and is celebrated in designs on pottery and jewelry.
Clarence Cruz is one of the few potters working at Ohkay today, and by far the most celebrated. He signs his pieces Khuu Khaayay, works in every pottery medium and especially favors micaceous and black-on-black. Cruz teaches ceramics at the University of New Mexico and at the Poeh Center in Pojoaque. To understand the importance and quality of his pottery, you just need to know that that no Pueblo supports contemporary Indian arts more than Pojoaque, and the Pueblo’s Governor uses Clarence Cruz’s bowls and plates for ceremonial dinners.