"Now, I'm to the point where every pot has to be perfect, or else it's not presentable."--Dominique Toya, Jemez Pueblo potter
It’s hard not to like Jemez Pueblo pottery. I have more of it than from any other pueblo in New Mexico, mostly because it finds me, but also because I find they give me a lot of joy, just like all my Jemez "extended family" and friends do. Jemez is home to many potters, who work in a variety of styles, and are constantly creating their own new style. They are masters at finding something that will appeal to the collector. Fortunately for all collectors—from the wealthy seasoned ones, to the budget-conscious novice-- there is a price point for everyone!
Dominique Toya, who has been creating pottery since the age of 5 is a master potter. Her goal is to ensure that her own work gets better every day. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Dominique comes from a family of some of the best pueblo potters, including her mother, Maxine Toya, aunt, Laura Gachupin and grandmother, Marie Romero.
Just prior to the Heard Museum Guild’s Indian Fair and Market this year, I ran into Dominique at Andrews Pueblo Pottery and Art Gallery, who showed me pictures of the unfinished pot that she and Santa Clara potter Jody Naranjo were collaborating on for the show’s judging. Initially, the vessel, which is a very large swirl vase, was going to contain circles on all sides featuring the faces of famous potters. I was told by both artists that the Jemez clay was too soft for the faces to be effectively carved into the pot, which the two later titled “Double Insanity.” The two are hoping to collaborate on another similar idea utilizing Santa Clara clay, which will give the sgraffito work more clarity.
In the meantime, “Double Insanity” made its way to the judging table at the Heard. And while it didn’t win an award, it is quite interesting, and most importantly, represents the first collaboration of Toya and Naranjo, who have been friends for many years. They are currently in talks about working on a couple of projects together.
I had the chance to speak with Dominique on camera about the joint work at the 2010 Heard Museum Guild’s Indian Fair and Market. Check out what she had to say HERE.