Sheldon Nunez Velarde

Jicarilla Apache

Sheldon Nunez Velarde is a Jicarilla Apache potter who produces micaceous clay jars and pots.

I've heard that most Jicarilla potters get their micaceous clay in the Tusas Mountains west of the Rio Grande. That's a different area than where most Taos and Picuris potters get their micaceous clay. The Tusas clay fires a bit darker than the Tiwa clay. There is evidence the Jicarilla also developed pottery making about the same time as the people living around Pot Creek Pueblo (before about 1250 CE). When Pot Creek Pueblo burned and was abandoned, some of the people went northeast and merged into a small pueblo that was already there. That's the place we now know as Taos Pueblo. The people who built Picuris Pueblo moved southeast from Pot Creek, settled down and built up. It is said the people who lived in the hills and valleys around those two pueblos evolved into the Jicarilla Apache.

In 2011 Sheldon earned a First Place award at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts Fair & Market for a figurative piece. He also earned an Honorable Mention award that year for a pot he submitted. In 2019 he earned a Second Place award for a micaceous piece in the style of Taos, "Picuris, Nambe, any form, at Santa Fe Indian Market. Then in 2022 he earned a First Place award at the Heard for a figurative piece entitled "Apache Crown Dancer".

I've seen Sheldon several times at the Santa Fe Indian Market sitting or standing behind a couple shelves of beatiful micaceous pots, often chatting with an admirer.

Fire clouds on a golden mcaceous jar with a raised rope band around the shoulder Golden micaceous jar with a raised rope band around the shoulder and fire clouds
13 in H by 11 1/4 in Dia