Alvin Curran

Alvin Curran (1953-1999) was part San Juan and part Quechan (a desert people living along the Colorado River between Arizona and California). At one year old he was sent to live with his maternal grandparents at San Juan.

He grew up at San Juan and eventually became the Chief of Police, a position he enjoyed greatly until his health deteriorated and prevented him from continuing in the job. That was when his mother-in-law convinced him to learn to make pottery.

With a wife like Dolores Curran, Alvin learned quickly and well. As the only male potter at San Juan for many years, his designs were meticulous and his pottery some the finest produced at San Juan in the last quarter of the 20th century.

Being from San Juan, Alvin's pottery was almost always made in the Potsuwi'i style that had been defined in the 1930's by a group of eight women potters from San Juan. The style was based on pottery found in an unexcavated ancestral pueblo ruin discovered on San Juan land in the early 1930's. That pottery was dated to be from about 1450 to 1500 CE, just before the time of first Spanish contact. After contact, pottery was influenced by the colonial market that developed, usually influenced in a negative manner.

Four direction sunface and geometric design on a polychrome jar
Polychrome jar with four direction sunface and geometric design
3 1/2 in H by 6 1/2 in Dia
Sgraffito and painted geometric designs on a polychrome bowl
Polychrome bowl with sgraffito and painted geometric designs
3 3/4 in H by 5 in Dia
Sgraffito and painted geometric designs in a band around a polychrome jar
Polychrome jar with a band of sgraffito and painted geometric designs
3 3/4 in H by 3 1/2 in Dia
Lightly carved bear, birds, bugs and geometrics on a polychrome jar
Polychrome jar decorated with lightly carved bugs, bear, birds and geometric designs
7 1/2 in H by 5 3/4 in Dia
Lightly carved and painted Corn Maiden with a tablita, corn plants, lightning bolts, rain clouds and kiva steps on a polychrome plate Polychrome plate with lightly carved and painted Corn Maiden with a tablita, corn plants, lightning bolts, rain clouds and kiva steps
1/2 in H by 9 1/4 in Dia
Lightly carved and painted geometric design on a polychrome jar Polychrome jar carved and painted in the Potsuwi'i style
5 1/2 in H by 5 in Dia
Lightly carved and painted Potsuwi'i geometric design on a polychrome jar Polychrome jar with a Potsuwi'i color palette and lightly carved and painted geometric design
2 3/4 in H by 3 1/2 in Dia

San Juan Pueblo Potters