Ram Bowl, handmade and hand painted by Kewa artist, Robert Tenorio. The bowl measures 13.5 x 13.5 x 5.75”
Santo Domingo Kewa Artist: Robert Tenorio
Robert Tenorio was born in 1950 into the Santo Domingo “Kewa” Pueblo. He has been working with clay since the age of 10. He was taught all the fundamentals of hand coiling pottery using ancient traditional methods from his family members.
Tenorio is one of the foremost pueblo potters. He wins ribbons regularly at Santa Fe Indian Market and other prestigious competitions. His work is among the most traditional of any potters working today. All of his pieces are hand coiled and fired outdoors with cottonwood bark. He is especially well known for creating some of the largest pieces produced by any pueblo potter.
In thinking about his distinguished career, Robert observes:
“I don’t ever want to become too famous or too rich. We’re all striving for life, and pottery is bringing me and my family life. I feel I was put in this world to revive Santo Domingo pottery. And now that I’ve done that, I feel good about it. I’m content. Everybody living will go, but my pots will stay here on this earth forever.”
He signs his pottery as: Robert Tenorio, followed by small dipper star formation, and Kewa.
-Santa Fe Indian Market 1st Place
-Eighth Northern Arts & Crafts Show 1st Place
History of the Spirit Line
Around 1900, the “spirit line” became a popular element for many traditional Navajo weavers.
This occurred because traders requested weavers to place borders around their weavings. By this time, most weavers were selling their weavings through the trading post system.
The traditional weaver became very concerned about trapping their creative spirit within the weaving and not being able to weave in the future.
The “spirit line” is a small strand of yarn of contrasting color that flows from the inner design element of the weaving to the outer edge. The custom continues today in many contemporary Navajo rugs.
We see the same element in Native American pottery.