Unique and Unusual Pueblo Pottery

April 06, 2018 until July 29, 2018

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway came to the American Southwest in the late 19th century, bringing with it a great deal of change for the region and its native inhabitants. The train brought a new brand of tourist: travelers from the East, looking for the exciting, romantic vision of the West that they'd heard and read about. These tourists wanted souvenirs to remind them of their Southwestern adventures.

Enterprising traders and Native American artists saw the economic opportunity in targeting these new visitors to the Southwest. The gifted women of the region's surrounding Pueblos seized this opportunity, selling their beautiful ollas, bowls, and storage jars to their new visitors. These large pieces were not ideal for the tourist trade, as transporting them home safely was difficult. The potters—encouraged and guided by the business-savvy merchants and traders—adapted their wares to meet the needs of the quickly growing market.

As a result of this growth and change, this period of time—from the late 19th century to the early 20th century—was a time of incredible innovation in the field of Pueblo Pottery. Potters began to alter their traditional designs and shapes. Many potters decreased the sizes of their works, to increase productivity and allow for easier transport. Others created new forms altogether in hopes of attracting the attention of patrons who had no interest in traditional forms. Some of the most unique pieces were the results of particularly creative potters designing pieces to appear as if they had been used for religious or ceremonial functions. These pseudo-ceremonial pieces-unique anomalies that were rarely reproduced or created in multiples-are, today, highly collectible.

Adobe Gallery's new exhibit "Unique and Unusual Pueblo Pottery" is mostly focused on unsigned historic works created during this productive period of growth and change. A handful of notably unique contemporary pieces from artists like Tony Da and Maria Martinez are also included. All together, these pieces—wildly varied in size, shape, form and function—form an excellent display of the incredible skill and boundless creativity of Pueblo Indian potters.

"Unique and Unusual Pueblo Pottery" opens on Friday, April 6th, 2018, with reception from 5-7 p.m. "Unique and Unusual Pueblo Pottery" will highlight works from a variety of potters and Pueblos that are unique in form, design, function, or style.