Introducing Jemez Potter Joshua Madalena

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”.

Kachina HouseKachina House

4 Responses to Introducing Jemez Potter Joshua Madalena

    • Hey Joshua….we are doing ok. Business is good. I know this note has been here for a while, but I wanted you to know that we might be able to take a few of your smaller pieces when you are in the neighborhood.

  1. Hi,
    Love the black on white, however, it states that you are the first man to bring back the tradition. There is a woman that has been making the black on white prior to Joshua Madalena. Her name is Reyes Madalena,is she a family member being from the same tribe? She’s been making pottery for over 60 years, according to her website… http://www.reyesmadalena.com/
    Im just wondering who really brought back the art form that disappeared 300 years ago? a man or a woman?

    https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/arts-entertainment/this-art-form-disappeared-for-300-years-meet-the-man-who-brought-it-back/

    • Sorry to say we don’t know who brought back the tradition. We do know that Joshua and Reyes are related, though I cannot tell you in what way. I can also tell you that the revival that is credited to Joshua has to do with the technical end of creating the pottery and the recipe for the clay that was used and for the coloration and firing techniques. From the fiery alchemy of volcanic ash, pumice and basalt come the whispers of the ancestors. Copied below is information on what Joshua is credited for.
      “Former Jemez Pueblo governor Joshua Madalena has recaptured an art form lost for 300 years: the pueblo’s original black-on-white pottery.
      Even more significantly, the broken shards and chips that led him to the clay’s original recipe allow the Jemez people to trace their history back to northern Utah’s Fremont culture before 200 A.D.”

      Kachina House

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