The Highlight of the Month program at The Indian Craft Shop focuses on a particular craft area, region or artist family/group. Our aim is to illustrate the diversity of tribal groups and the wide variety of artistic expressions and traditions in the country today.
Glendora Fragua is recognized as one of today’s top Pueblo potters. Her pottery is elegant and sophisticated, with precision sgraffito on highly-polished red and buff clay vessels. They are masterpieces in form and design. Her designs, which echo the classic Pueblo designs ? kiva steps, spirit figures, rain symbols and corn ? are uniquely her own.
"I use the cornstalk in many of my pieces," says Glendora. "It represents my family's origin in the Corn Clan of the Jemez Pueblo." Glendora is proud of her family, many of whom are also involved in the arts. She learned how to make pottery from her mother Juanita Fragua, a well-known and recognized potter. Glendora's grandmother, Beninga Medina Madelena, came from the Zia Pueblo and married into the Jemez Pueblo. She has been credited as helping revive pottery making at Jemez. Glendora's sister B.J. is also a potter and her brother Clifford is a well-known sculptor.
"My work is contemporary," says Glendora "but, my methods are traditional. We gather clay from the Pueblo and temper it with volcanic ash. Our paints are from the earth. The building and polishing are all done by hand." Her only nod to technology is the use of a kiln to fire her finished work.
Glendora Fragua was born in 1958 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her early years were spent in San Francisco, California. In the 1970s, she moved back with her family to the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico. At the age of 16, Glendora was developing her own pottery style, experimenting with a scratch technique known as sgraffito. Sgraffito carving requires a steady hand for the delicate, intricate and precise designs.
"The designs I use are my own," says Glendora. After building and polishing her pots, she incises the designs into the highly polished surface. Parts of the designs may then be painted with red, buff and sometimes micaceous slips, her cornstalk trademark is added to the bottom of each piece, and then the pots are fired.
For a period, she worked as Glendora Daubs and many collectors today still know her under her married name. Glendora has received numerous awards for her work, including first place at the Santa Fe and Dallas Indian Markets, First Place at the Heard and Eiteljorg Museums and Best of Show at Gallup Ceremonial.
©The Indian Craft Shop 2001