Design Elements: Matte and Polished Clay

Sienna rim, cloud design and matte black avanyu design on polished black plate
Sienna rim with cloud design on a polished black plate with a matte black avanyu design, by Maria Martinez and Popovi Da, San Ildefonso
1 3/4 in H by 9 1/4 in Dia
An organic opening and Paquime designs on a black on black on black vase
Black on black on black vase with an organic opening and Paquimé designs, by Lydia Quezada, Mata Ortiz
11 in H by 6 1/4 in Dia
Measurement includes stand
Geometric design carved into a polished red bowl and outlined with matte red clay
Polished red bowl carved with a geometric design outlined with a matte red clay paint, by Effie Garcia, Santa Clara
2 1/2 in H by 5 in Dia
Fire clouds on a matte and polished brown jar
Matte and polished brown jar with fire clouds, by Jody Folwell, Santa Clara
4 1/2 in H by 7 1/2 in Dia

Maria Martinez is most known for rediscovering how to make polished black pottery at San Ildefonso. Her husband Julian's greatest contribution was his use of beeweed paste to paint what became matte black designs, usually painting in the negative, on the surface of her polished pottery before it was fired. Those designs remained black, no matter whether the piece was fired in an oxygen-reduction atmosphere or not.

Lydia Quezada is most noted for her development of a matte, semi-matte and polished black process for decorating her distinctively delicate pieces.

Effie Garcia works with her husband, Orville, to form and carve her pieces, sand the carved sections and then outlining those carved sections cameo-fashion with watered clay, which turns matte black when the piece is ground-fired in an oxygen-reduction atmosphere or matte red if it's fired in open air.

Jody Folwell forms her pieces, polishing only the upper shoulder and leaving the rest matte. Then she creates the color differentiations through her firing process.

Design Elements