Ambrose Atencio is a Santo Domingo potter who is in his forties. He is a regular exhibitor at Santa Fe's Indian Market and a very prolific potter. We find him to be one of the most compelling potter's from Santo Domingo Pueblo. His work is technically accomplished and his style is very traditional with evolving aspects specific to his search for mastery. He often paints birds, florals and geometrics. He is known for his thin slips which permit a translucence at the surface of his pots so that, depending on the light, the red clay foundation is perceived to greater or lesser degree. A photograph of Ambrose and an examples of his work are shown on page 59 of Dr. Gregory Schaaf's book Southern Pueblo Pottery: 2,000 Artist Biographies.
This well-coiled bowl is decorated with outlined geometrics and painted grey like graphite. The paint shows interesting variations in its manner of firing and wraps this bowl in a soft charcoal color with warm sheen where touched by direct light. This is a bowl made by Ambrose near the very end of 2004. Instead of working with his thin slip technique, he chose to use a matte paint which mixes with and shows the grain of the clay quite nicely. Still in this pot we see Ambrose working to create a decorative surface which is an interplay of color, light and the texture of the clay itself. The decoration is a purposeful inversion of color to create a "negative" design. The use of dark paint of this sort is also sometimes related to night scenes. Note Lisa Holt's and Harlan Reano's use of a variant of this pattern on the outside of their bowl (listed under Cochiti Pueblo).
This is a hand-coiled vessel made from clay gathered in a traditional manner at Santo Domingo Pueblo. Signed "Ambrose Atencio" and marked "Kewa" (Santo Domingo Pueblo) and dated 2004.
Height: 6 5/8" Diameter: 11" Opening: 7 3/4"
Largest girth: 35" Base: 4 3/8"
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