Black-on-Black Lidded Pottery Box by Blue Corn


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Crucita Gonzales Calabaza - Blue Corn, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter

This black-on-black lidded pottery box was made by Crucita Gonzales Calabaza, or Blue Corn, of San Ildefonso Pueblo. Its four walls flare outward from the base and curve back inward slightly toward the rim. A lid with a rounded handle sits comfortably on the rim, with two ridges protruding from the bottom to prevent the lid from moving around and being scratched or damaged. The edges of the lid line up perfectly with those of the box.

Painted designs adorn the lid and exterior. Lightning patterns and cloud designs appear along the edges of the lid, eventually meeting in the corners. A variety of designs appear around the exterior of the box, using geometric patterns and triangular forms to suggest kiva steps and lightning. This is a unique and attractive example of Blue Corn's work.

Artist signature of Crucita Gonzales Calabaza (1921-1999) Blue Corn of San Ildefonso PuebloThe bottom of the box is signed Crucita Gonzales. Blue Corn's maiden name was Gonzales. She would have made this lidded box prior to marrying Sandy Calabaza in 1940. She was only a teenager at the time she made the box. Sandy was a silversmith from Santo Domingo Pueblo. To help with family income, Blue Corn worked as a domestic for the famous physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer at Los Alamos.

Crucita Gonzales Calabaza (1921-1999) Blue Corn was born at San Ildefonso Pueblo. She was encouraged by her grandmother, at an early age, to "forget school and become a potter." She went on to become one of the greatest and most versatile San Ildefonso Pueblo ceramicists. She made pottery for over 60 years, working in black, red, and polychrome, using a variety of forms. Blue Corn's house was located across the plaza from that of Maria Martinez, but there was no competition between the two artisans. Blue Corn was one of the most honored of twentieth century potters. She received the 1981 New Mexico Governor's Award—New Mexico's highest artistic award—and she was acclaimed for her artistic accomplishments in the Wall Street Journal and AMEPNKA, a Soviet Union journal. She won awards at State Fairs, Santa Fe Indian Market, and many other notable exhibitions.

Condition: good condition with minor abrasions, mostly around rim and lid

Provenance: this Black-on-Black Lidded Pottery Box by Blue Corn is from a private Colorado collection

Reference: Pueblo Indian Pottery 750 Artist's Biographies by Gregory Schaaf

TAGS: Maria and Julian MartinezSan Ildefonso PuebloKewa Pueblo - Santo DomingoSouthwest Indian PotteryCrucita Gonzales Calabaza - Blue Corn, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter

Alternate view with the lid off.

Alternate view looking t two sides.


Crucita Gonzales Calabaza - Blue Corn, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter
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