Monica Silva Lovato


Curator Monica Silva Lovato is a fourth-generation traditional potter and a third-generation silversmith from the Pueblos of San Felipe and Kewa/Santo Domingo. A multimedia artist, she focuses on traditional pottery integrated with silverwork to create custom contemporary pieces. Her work explores the concept of trace and the connections across generations, as she aims to begin conversations that will help support young potters on their own journey. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Studio Arts with emphasis in Ceramics from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe.


Tribal Affiliations:

Artwork Affiliations:

Monica chose the following for the Grounded in Clay exhibit:

San Felipe cooking pot

San Felipe cooking jar
c. 1880–1900
15½ x 16½ in. (39.4 x 41.9 cm)

Collection School for Advanced Research

Organic Repository

This vessel is the embodiment of good craftsmanship among our ancestors. It was created with care, passion, and pride. The patience and effort the artist put into the process, from building to firing the jar, show how important it is to recognize that value should be placed on a well-made item.

Made in the classic style of Pueblo cookware, this pot has a rough, undecorated surface that has been coated black as a result of contact with an open fire, and a smooth interior with cooking rings resulting from use. Pueblo women have different ways to season new cookware before the first use, depending on the type of pot. Over time, a vessel like this one absorbs the fats from the food cooked inside it, and it becomes less porous.

What makes this pot so valuable and beautiful is the generational knowledge it contains. This ancestor spent many days sitting in a Pueblo home. It began its life holding food that sustained the bodies of the family it lived with; it listened to many teachings from mother to daughter, father to son. This pot has witnessed life; it has gathered such an assemblage of stories, songs, and history that it now, with a soft voice, whispers segments of collected information to passersby. When you visit this pot, open your heart and listen with your soul. The ancestors continue to fill us with knowledge.