Robert interprets traditional designs on his pottery from ancient pottery shards found on the lands of Acoma Pueblo. The designs on this olla are symbols of lightning which brings the rain and much needed moisture to grow crops. The double band around the top of the olla reflects the colors found on the body of the jar. The olla is divided into four sections with a vertical band of black and cream rectangles running from above the shoulder to the lower portion of red slip. The rectangles are in a checker board pattern, which often represents corn.
Robert says he was about nine years old when he began learning the traditional methods of creating hand coiled pottery. In the beginning he learned by watching his great-grandmother Marie Z. Chino, later he worked with his mother. Today he counts his mother, great-grandmother and aunt Grace Chino as his main inspirations.
Robert specializes in producing hand coiled and hand painted pottery. After collecting the various clays, slips, and natural vegetation, Robert begins the traditional process. First, he prepares the clay by sifting for impurities and then hand mixing with water. Next, he constructs his vessels with snake-like coils. Then these are set out to dry and later scraped to a smooth finish. While the pottery is drying, he boils and strains all the natural vegetation and creates his colors from plants such as wild spinach (bee-weed) and wildflowers. The process is completed by laying out the designs, painting the designs with his clay slips and then firing the pots.
Robert has participated in numerous shows winning 1st Place, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention ribbons. Among the juried competitions Robert has entered are the Heard Museum in Phoenix (earning a 2nd Place ribbon), Eight Northern Pueblos Arts and Crafts Show in Espanola, and the Santa Fe Indian Market where he has taken home 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place ribbons. He won “Best of Pottery” at Santa Fe Indian Market in 2010 and 2022.
Condition: Excellent – original condition.
Provenance: Acquired from King Galleries through the School for Advanced Research.