Erik has been experimenting with different materials and techniques to reproduce traditional stone polished black on red ware of old traditional San Ildefonso Pueblo pottery. Many people associate San Ildefonso pottery with the very popular matte painted black or red ware. They do not realize traditional San Ildefonso pottery was composed of black on cream ware, and black on red ware. These two combinations eventually evolved into the polychrome pottery.
Erik does just a few large plates, and only a fraction of those are of his black on red color. This one is spectacular!
This gorgeous 10” two-sided plate is quite different, for Erik has added a micaceous sparkle to the back of the plate. According to Erik, “the interior sides are arrowheads that represent lightning with rain clouds and wind.” The top and bottom of the interior have eight beautiful feathers on each side. The exterior of this magnificent plate is a very large Avanyu encircling the outer rim. The center is filled with micaceous slip giving it extra sparkle.
Erik is a traditional potter. After gathering the clay collected around his home, Erik creates his pottery. He meticulously coils, scrapes, sands and polishes it. When the piece is dry, he selects the ancestral images mixed with some of his own creation to embellish his pottery by carefully painting each one in a thin mixture of the clay and water, known as slip.
Erik is able to manipulate the outdoor firing and a combination of ash, manure and heat to achieve an exceptional appearance on the surface of his pottery. The risk of breakage during the firing process remains very high. Through careful visual inspection, Erik knows just when the temperature is perfect for achieving the perfect finish. The stunning and highly desirable visual results are an important cultural legacy for him.
Erik’s work displays such high-level skills in both traditional and innovative techniques and designs. He continues to create the highest quality traditionally made Native American pottery. Over the years he has won numerous awards at the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts and Crafts Show and again at the Santa Fe Indian Market. He signs his pottery as Than Tsideh which means “Sunbird”.