San Ildefonso Blue Corn Pottery


Natural pigments

Height: 50 mm
Width: 70 mm
Opening: 35 mm

Handmade c.1990’s and signed by renowned San Ildefonso artist Blue Corn

“Blue Corn (1921-1999) was a potter from San Ildefonso Pueblo. She was born Crucita Gonzalez. The name Blue Corn was given to her by one of Maria Martinez’ sisters during her San Ildefonso naming ceremony. Blue Corn made her first piece of pottery at the age of three. She said her grandmother told her, “Your hands were made for pottery.” That was a prophetic statement because Blue Corn made pottery for nearly her entire life. She was born in that time when many Native American children were being educated in boarding schools. She was educated at the Santa Fe Indian School, about 25 miles from home. Both her parents died while she was away at school. Summers were spent in her grandmother’s home until she graduated and was sent to live with relatives in southern California. For a while she worked as a maid in a Beverly Hills mansion. Then she returned to New Mexico and met Artillery Sergeant Santiago Calabazas. He, too, was an orphan and was educated in boarding schools. Neither of them had graduated high school. They fell in love but World War II was on. After the war he returned to Santo Domingo and resumed his career as a silversmith. Then he and Blue Corn married. In keeping with Pueblo tradition he moved to her home at San Ildefonso. In those years Blue Corn worked as a housekeeper for J. Robert Oppenheimer, the famous nuclear physicist who was the founder and first Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. She began making pottery after her first son, Joseph, was born. Blue Corn was especially known for her polychrome designs on cream-colored jars and plates. She and Santiago spent several years experimenting with different techniques, forms, clays and colors. Blue Corn produced a significant number of redware and blackware pieces through the years. By the late 1960’s she was emerging as a leader in the revival of polychrome pottery. She was known for highly polished white, cream and buff slips, which she said she produced by polishing very slowly. She also selected subtle colors of clay with which to paint her designs. Santiago passed away in 1972 and their son Joseph took his place in helping Blue Corn make her pottery. Blue Corn was known for making jars, plates, wedding vases, oval blackware lidded boxes and black-on-black owl figures. Her favorite designs included feathers, rain clouds, turtles and the avanyu (the Tewa water serpent). She did demonstrations and exhibitions all around the country and participated in shows like the Santa Fe Indian Market and the New Mexico State Fair, earning major awards at both. In 1981 she was awarded the 8th Annual Governor’s Award, the highest artistic honor awarded by the State of New Mexico. When she died, Blue Corn had raised 10 children and they had given her 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She had also taught many people how to make pottery, including most of her own children. Some of them went on to become award-winning potters in their own right.” (Courtesy of

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SKU: POT101 Categories: , Tag:
Our Native American pottery is ethically sourced and Fair Trade. Wilde Ones endeavours to consistently handpick the finest pieces from the best Native American artists. To that effect, we have been traveling to Arizona, New Mexico, California and Mexico every year since 1987. It is our pleasure to not only satisfy our customers with top quality products but also nurture strong healthy long-lasting relationships with our incredibly talented Native American craftsmen and craftswomen.