Acoma Pueblo Pottery
The potters of Acoma have long made a fine, thin-walled ware in two decorative forms: an older polychrome style with red and black designs on a white background and a more recently developed black on white style. The polychrome most often includes both geometric forms and naturalistic designs of birds, deer, and flowers, while the black on white primarily has geometric patterns, many of which are inspired by some prehistoric Anasazi black on white pottery designs.The old short-necked water jar commonly called an olla was once the most characteristic vessel form of the pueblo, but today the potters make every conceivable shape. The beautiful polychrome olla (10 1/2" high) on the upper left is the work of Lucy Lewis, one of the best-known Acoma potters. It has her signature parrot design on it. The two ollas on the right are examples of the black on white style. Both are 10 1/2 inches high.
Below you see a range of other forms of Acoma pottery, including the black on white fine-line hatchure style. The wedding jar on the upper left is by Jessie Garcia and features the "deer with heartline" design. Next to it is a miniature black on white seed jar by Dorothy Torivio, who has made this intricate pattern a specialty of hers. The tall jar on the lower left is decorated in the fine-line hatchure style sometimes called "op art" (optical illusion). This piece is an example of a greenware, slip-cast blank, not made by hand,but certainly handpainted. Some Acoma potters have turned to thebuying greenware and decorating it, but the very best potters and the traditionalists still do everything by hand from start to finish.On the lower right, the small bird effigy bowl with the braided handle is a "tourist" piece, made to appeal to the souvenier-hunter.