Marita Hinds

Tesuque Pueblo

Curator Marita Hinds (Tesuque Pueblo) works in education, and is a consultant, curator, artist, and mother.


Tribal Affiliations:

Artwork Affiliations:

Marita chose the following for the Grounded in Clay exhibit:

Tesuque water jar

Tesuque water jar
c. 1880–90
Clay and paint
10 x 11 in. (25.4 x 27.9 cm)
Collection School for Advanced Research

An Old Friend

This pot is like an old friend you have not seen in years, but when you meet them again, it is as if you have not missed a day. I first came across this jar at SAR in the early 1980s, when I was attending the Institute of American Indian Arts. Mr. Chuck Dailey, the Museum Studies teacher, took our class to visit the collection, and when we were brought to the pottery, I was naturally drawn to that from my own Pueblo, Tesuque. There were not as many pots as from some of the other Pueblos, and so this section of the pottery collection was very small in comparison. There were some rain gods, a few poster-painted bowls, and other items that I recognized immediately as being made by family members and other contemporary Tesuque potters. In addition, there were other bowls, large water jars, and vases, some polychrome, others with a cream slip and black painted designs.

When I came across this water jar, it resonated with me straightaway. It is a polychrome pot painted with three colors: red on the bottom and cream with black designs on the body and neck. I love the ease and flow of the geometric design, with a cloud on the bottom and top of each square design element. On the neck is a very loosely painted linear design with a little bird in the middle. The designs are freehand and imprecise, unlike some of the pottery from other Pueblos, where precision is important and the design elements exact and calculated. This piece is beautiful in its own right. It is not perfect, and I love it!

Over the years I have made other visits to SAR for college projects and personal research. I am always drawn back to this pot and have used its geometric motif in my own work. I do not know whether I picked this piece or it picked me. To me, this is a true Tesuque-style water jar.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit the collection, and I want to encourage more Tesuque Pueblo members to visit and see what our family and community members have made. Maybe that will inspire others to become potters themselves.