The Big Pot Project – Navi Towa (My People)

Between the months of May to June 2022, artists from the Tewa Pueblos assembled to design and paint two large scale fiberglass sculptures of traditional pottery. Each artist created a prototypical bird design in the style of the Pueblo from which they came, and the designs were then transferred by each artist to the pots. Listed here are the artists who participated in the project, which was made possible by generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pueblo Pottery is like a history book, which speaks of its Pueblo People through its presentation of imagery on the pottery. These artists were asked to create a bird design in the style of the Pueblo from which they came.

Pearl Talachy (Nambe Pueblo)

Pearl has been making pottery for the last 50 years, and her other works include Pueblo embroidery, belt weaving, and traditional clothing. She was inspired to make pottery by Luteria Atencio from Ohkay Owingeh, who also was her mentor. Among the designs she utilizes are birds, prayer feathers, corn, and plant motifs. Pearl’s works have been collected by the Smithsonian Institution, and she also has been a featured artist at the Poeh Cultural Center.

Randolf M. Silva, Ko’ Tsa (Santa Clara Pueblo)

Randolf, a graduate of New Mexico Highlands and the University of New Mexico for his Bachelor’s and Masters’s Degrees, is an award-winning traditional painter, who was taught art in various Native American schools in New Mexico. Among other places, his works were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution and also at the United States Senate, in Washington, DC. Randolf’s work also has been featured at the Poeh Cultural Center.

Shawn Tafoya (Santa Clara and Pojoaque Pueblos)

Shawn, who has taught pottery and embroidery for the Poeh Arts Program, is a member of the Tafoya family of potters. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts, and over the course of his career as a pottery and textile artist, he has received numerous awards for his work, including at the Annual Santa Fe Indian Market. Shawn’s work has been collected by several museums and he has also been featured at the Poeh Cultural Center.

Glenn Gomez (Taos and Pojoaque Pueblos)

Glenn painted the large-scale example of Pojoaque pottery design with some assistance from the other artists in mapping the design. Glenn has been working with Micaceous Clay since 1988. As a result of encouragement from his mother, he has followed the creative process of working with natural clays. Glenn achieved an associate of Fine Arts degree from IAIA, and he has participated in some of the most well-known art shows in the Southwest including the Eight Northern Arts and Crafts Show, Southwestern Association of Indian Arts (Indian Market), and the Heard Museum Show. He has received numerous awards from all three shows for his pottery.  Glenn’s work has also been featured at the Poeh Cultural Center.

Wesley Vigil (Tesuque Pueblo)

Wesley is a self-taught artist who works in wood and clay, with a focus on traditional Tewa polychrome pottery. For 20 years, he has produced works of various shapes and sizes.  His designs symbolize the mountains, clouds, stars, and feathers, reflecting nature that is within our reach, and are variations inspired by older pieces of Tesuque Pueblo pottery. Wesley’s work will also be the feature of an upcoming exhibit at the Poeh.

Erik Fender, Than Tsidih (San Ildefonso Pueblo)

Erik, who teaches classes in jewelry and pottery, is one of the Poeh Arts Program instructors. Erik began to learn the art of pottery from his mother and grandmother, and over the years he has earned numerous awards at the Eight Northern Pueblos Arts and Crafts Show and at the Santa Fe Indian Market. Erik’s interest in color and painting earned him an award at a Congressional art competition and lately, he has been working to reproduce traditional San Ildefonso polychrome ware as the technique was nearly lost to San Ildefonso following the development of black-on-black pottery. Erik’s work has also been featured at the Poeh Cultural Center.

Clarence Cruz, Khaayay (Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo)

Clarence is a potter and an Assistant Professor in the Art Department at the University of New Mexico. His works consist of Micaceous, Red on tan carved/Potsuwii incised, Black/Reduction/Matt, Black on white, and Polychrome.  The “Thunderbird” design, which represents power, protection, strength, thunder, and rain, is a tribute to his great-grandmother Rayes C. Mastes (Pin kaa povi), a potter of the late 1940s and 1950s of Ohkay Owingeh. Clarence’s work has also been featured at the Poeh Cultural Center.

Evone Snowflake Martinez (San Ildefonso Pueblo)

Evone, who teaches classes in traditional Pueblo and attire, is one of the Poeh Arts Program instructors. Evone, who worked on a similar project for large-scale pots in Los Alamos, assisted in the layout and design of the pot.