Potters continually develop and enhance their work with new materials and techniques. Materials change as communities thrive, creating ever-changing art for many to enjoy. The Jemez people of the Jemez Mountains in New Mexico, dug rich, white clay.
This clay allowed the potter to produce botanical designs and dark black carbon marks in the pottery with the right firing process. These designs are often in contrasting colors, making them distinct. The Jemez did not often share this pottery outside their Pueblo, which caused much of it to disappear over time.
Fortunately, Joshua Madalena, a renowned Jemez potter, is recreating many of these works today. He started over two decades ago, studying the materials and techniques of his ancestors to recreate their stunning works.
Joshua conquers the challenges of balancing air and fuel for the desired look. He creates works that tell a bit of history about the Jemez people and these works have found their way into the hearts and homes of collectors.
“This pottery is my people’s identity, my personal identity,” he says. “Now I know who I am. And it’s time for the world to know that Jemez black-on-white is back”.