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Brown and Cream Geometric Olla


Item Number: DR 2020
Pueblo: Laguna Pueblo
Artist: Evelyn Cheromiah
Medium: Clay and pigment
Age: Circa 1982
Dimensions: 7″ x 7″



This is a beautiful monochrome olla with geometric triangular symbols and swirls is very finely constructed.  The thin walled shape is particularly attractive and the painting is very fine and precise. The design is a series of triangles connected by swirling lines.  The design around the rim seems to be triangles with a leaf pattern in the middle. The beautiful delicately painted design is continuous from the top to the bottom.  The base is concave in the traditional water jar style.  It is signed E. Cheromiah Old Laguna Pueblo, N.M. on the underneath.

Evelyn Cheromiah collected her own clay, used potsherds for temper, mineral and vegetal paints for the designs, and fired in the traditional outdoor firing technique.  She boiled the plant materials she collected until they were a thick consistency she could use as paint. Once the vessels were dry and sanded, the hand painting began using a variety of designs, which included swirls, checkerboards and fine lines. The design ideas for many of her pots were found on old pottery shards left from hundreds of years ago.

Laguna pottery almost died out in the late 1960’s due to the number of men being employed by the railroad, thereby providing cash income for the families.  With this steady form of money, it was then no longer necessary for the women to make pottery for sale to tourists. Many of them chose to purchase pottery from potters at Acoma Pueblo for use in their households.  By the 1950s, many Laguna residents were working at the uranium mines on the pueblo, and the production of pottery continued to decline.

Evelyn Cheromiah received a federal grant in the 1970s to help revive the art of pottery at Laguna. She researched ancient techniques and designs, and began to teach other Laguna artists. Even today, there are only a few artists who make traditional Laguna pottery. If it were not for the efforts of Evelyn Cheromiah, Laguna pottery might have disappeared altogether.

Condition: Excellent- original condition
Provenance: Originally purchased in 1982 from the artist at Santa Fe Indian Market and maintained in a private family collection.

Additional information

Weight 12 oz