Category Archives: New Mexico

Blackware Holy Family

This Holy Family in blackware pottery was created by Lawrence Vargas.

Mr. Vargas is a self-taught artist from New Mexico. He works out of his studio with a view of Petroglyphs National Monument near Albuquerque, NM together with members of his family. His style is distinctive and is inspired by his multi-cultural ancestry. His work represents a unique blend of the different cultures found in the southwest.

A skilled and multi-talented artisan, Mr. Vargas’ artistic expressions comprise different subject matters and different mediums. He is best known for his blackware pottery, harvest maiden series and storyteller figures and paintings. His work is the result of a deep spiritual inspiration interwoven with his life experience.

This nativity is hand painted blackware pottery. The use of both high gloss and matte finish on the jet-black clay creates a great contrast and allows for expressive representations in these otherwise semi-abstract figures. Some of the figures are enhanced with a characteristic piece of turquoise.

Santo Domingo Flight into Egypt

Depictions of the Flight into Egypt are rare in general, and they are even more rare among pueblo potters. Angel Bailon has been making nativities and angels for years. Her son suggested that she make a Flight into Egypt, and this is the result.

Joseph leads the donkey holding Mary and the Baby Jesus. He wears a folded blanket over his shoulder in formal pueblo style. All the painted decorations are traditional Santo Domingo Pueblo pottery designs. Santo Domingo Pueblo is about half way between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The height of Mary on the donkey is six inches tall (15 cm.). 

Angel Bailon is originally from the Jemez Pueblo, but married into the Santo Domingo Pueblo where here husband, Ralph is from. She has been making pottery since 1979. She was taught by her mother, Marie Coriz, and specializes in storytellers, nativity sets, and necklaces. She signs each piece A & R Bailon.

Jemez Pueblo Nativity

Santana Seonia depicts the nativity inside a kiva, the ceremonial chamber for New Mexico pueblos. Typically, kivas are round. This one has steps to the top and a ladder to descend into the chamber. A small pottery angel sits on top of the roof. Mary and Joseph and Baby are shown in the cut out side of the kiva. Three wise men are kneeling outside the kiva, and each one holds a pueblo style gift. A shepherd with a staff and four animals are also outside. Then animals outside the humans. The kiva is three inches tall.

Each piece is hand-formed from clay found at the pueblo, sun-dried and fired in a Horno oven, then painted in the pueblo’s traditional shades of brown, black, grey and rust. 

Navajo Folk Art Nativity

This Nativity by Nina Malone sets the birth of Jesus in a Navajo context. There are eleven figures in total: Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child, three Magi, a donkey and an ox, and two sheep. The different pieces have been glued onto the base.

The nativity is handmade from natural clay in Navajo Folk Art style. These kind of figurines are known as Mud Toys. Each piece is individually hand formed. Mud toys are often sun baked and not fired like traditional pottery. Each figurine is painted with acryclic paint.

Rustic Holy Family

This rustic Holy Family which depicts Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child in a stable was carved by Hector Rascon. The simplicity of design and material highlight the fact that the Christ Child was born in poverty to a humble family.

Hector Rascon learned the art of carving from his father-in-law, and famous artist, Ben Ortega. Hector is perhaps best known for his carvings of St. Francis and angels which grace so many homes and gardens in Northern NM.

Hector carves his pieces from cottonwood and follows the natural gentle bends in the wood. Each piece reflects its own personality and character dictated by the wood and the subject matter. Hector is one of Northern New Mexico’s most recognized folk artists. “This is my full-time work and I’m very proud of what I do. I love to carve and give every piece my full attention.”

Nambé Nativity

This 13-piece Nativity, designed by Alvaro Uribe is crafted in lustrous Nambé Alloy and rich acacia wood. With heads bowed, Mary and Joseph gaze affectionately at baby Jesus lying in his manger in front of a beautifully arched crèche of carved acacia wood. Onlookers include an angel, the three magi and their camel, a shepherd with sheep, and an ox and donkey. The dimensions are: Crèche: 6.5”H, Joseph: 5.5”H, Mary: 4”H, Baby Jesus: 2”W x 1.5”H, Angel: 1.5”W x 5”H, Wise Man 1: 1.5” W x 4” H, Wise Man 2: 1.5” W x 4.5” H, Wise Man 3: 1.5” W x 4.5” H, Shepherd: 2” W x 4.5” H, Lamb: 2” L x 1” H, Donkey: 3.5” L x 3” H, Camel: 4” L x 4” H, Ox: 4” L x 2” H.

Reproduction Nacimiento

This nativity is somewhat controversial. Its proto-type in Spanish colonial style was created by renowned santero and mass-produced from a mold with resin, a fragile plastic-like material.


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