Featured Question with Forrest: San Lazaro Pueblo Pottery Sherds
Mr. Fenn, I have a question regarding the two pottery sherds I received from Jenny (for entering the Easter Contest).
The clay in one is gray with only black color used for the design. The other sherd is light colored clay with burnt umber, black and cream color for the design. The gray sherd on its broken side shows many impurities that could cause breakage, while the lighter colored sherd has a more refined composition and is thicker.
My question is, “Did the clay for one or both come from San Lazaro or was the clay brought in from another site? ~ thanks BW
Well, let me answer with what you gave me to work with. The gray colored clay may be from a biscuit ware bowl. The clay comes from near Abiquiu. The black paint is made from Rocky Mountain Bee Weed, which grows all over the southwest. The color is brown, but turns black when fired.
The “impurities” are not that at all, they are temper, which keeps many of the pots from breaking during the firing process. The temper may be ground-up pot sherds, or sand.
The umber colored designs on the other sherd are made from galena, which is lead ore. It is mined about 20 miles south of San Lazaro. The ore is ground up and mixed with water, and heated until it gets a thick viscosity, then it is painted on. Both the mineral and vegetal paints become permanent when the vessel is fired. Hope this helps. f
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