Trevor and I visited a number of art galleries during our visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico and we were captivated by the Pueblo clay pots. They were stunning in the simplicity of the form, the natural color palette, and the amazing detail. As you may know, the Puebloans are not a single native tribe; there are 19 surviving Pueblo tribes in New Mexico, each with their own style of artwork. In particular, we loved the Acoma pottery. We watched as an Acoma artist painted tiny, perfect lines, one after the other, covering the surface of the pot, using yucca as a paintbrush. It was incredible.
Here are two Acoma pots I photographed at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Wow, right?
We were eager to create our own art inspired by the pottery of the Acomas. We made two-dimensional pots out of salt dough and painted them with acrylic paint and paintbrushes. As we struggled with our simple versions, our respect for the the intricacy and perfection of the Acoma pottery grew.
Salt Dough Pueblo-Inspired Clay Pots
- salt dough (2 parts flour, 1 part salt, 1 part water)
- rolling pin
- index card
- plastic knife
- acrylic paint
How You Make It:
1. Fold an index card in half. Holding the card by the fold, cut a curve the shape you want your pot to be.
2. Unfold the index card and place it on rolled-out salt dough. Use a plastic knife to cut around the
3. Smooth the edges and clean up any imperfections. If you want a cut-out in your pot, now is the time.
4. Dry the salt dough pots in a very low oven or leave them out to air dry for several days. Occasionally flip them over so they dry evenly.
5. Using shades of sand, terra cotta, ochre, brown and/or black paint, add designs to the pots.
Here are the three that I made.
Trevor made two, plus a New Mexico flag.