This unique cafe-style ceramic mug is a replica of a single beautiful clay pot handcrafted by Denise Chavarria of Santa Clara Pueblo.
Chavarria has incorporated very detailed and beautiful carving and burnishing on a traditional red vase. She has carved out a beautiful depiction of the Avanyu, a water serpent that the Pueblo people consider to be the guardian of water. Depicted as a horned serpent with lightning emerging from its mouth, the Avanyu is believed to live in the Rio Grande and its tributaries. The creature's body typically looks like a rippling stream, and the lightning coming from its mouth signifies thunderstorms that bring rain.
A common design in the pottery of Santa Clara and San Ildefonso Pueblos, the Avanyu represents the importance of water for the Pueblo people.
- Collectible tall café style mug
- Based on original by artist Denise Chavarria (Santa Clara Pueblo)
- Cup measurements: 6" H x 4½" L x 3¼" W
- 16 oz
- This Item is Not Dishwasher or Microwave safe
The mugs are designed by Pueblo artists from New Mexico, and printed in the USA on imported ceramics.
About the Artist
Denise Chavarria was born in the early 1960s, and is from the Tewa-speaking Pueblo of Santa Clara. She began working with clay at the age of 16, and was inspired by her mother, Stella Chavarria, to continue the long-lived family tradition of making pottery using ancient traditional methods. Stella taught Denise the fundamentals of working with clay, and encouraged her to continue, adding to the family legacy. Denise specializes in hand-coiling traditional black-on-black Santa Clara pottery. She signs her pottery as: Denise Chavarria, Santa Clara Pueblo. She is related to Teresita Naranjo (grandmother) and Loretta "Sunday" Chavarria (sister).
The most celebrated and recognized art form of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico is pottery. Pueblo pottery is known around the world for its remarkable beauty and craftsmanship. It has been made in much the same way for over a thousand years, with every step of creation completed by hand.
Pueblo potters do not use a wheel, but construct pots using the traditional horizontal coil method, or freely forming the shape. After the pot is formed, the artist polishes the piece with a natural polishing stone, such as a river stone, then paints it with a vegetal, mineral, or commercial slip. Finally, the pot is fired in an outdoor fire or kiln using manure or wood as fuel.
Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Jemez, and Acoma Pueblos have distinctive pottery styles that are especially prized by collectors, but accomplished potters are working in all Pueblos.
Today, Pueblo pottery is an exciting and dynamic form, with many artists pairing traditional techniques with innovative and stylized designs. Those potters who continue to create pots using traditional methods possess an extraordinary level of skill, and their pots are highly valuable works of fine art that will be enjoyed for generations to come.Read our Native American Pottery Collector's Guide.