Teresa Fragua is a contemporary Jemez Pueblo potter in her forties best known for her traditional Jemez small and miniature pots. Although she was born and raised on the Jemez Pueblo in Sandoval County, New Mexico, Teresa currently lives in Carlsbad, NM, with her husband and son. Teresa had the good fortune of learning her pottery techniques from her mother-in-law, Juanita Fragua (b. 1935). Collectors and art enthusiasts alike can observe Juanita’s influence in Teresa’s pottery both in form and design motifs employed as well as the micaceous clay slip Teresa occasionally uses.
To collectors who have been acquiring contemporary Jemez pottery since the early 1980’s, Juanita Fragua’s name and pottery is synonymous with the Jemez Pottery revival just before that time. Both Juanita and Laura Gachupin spearheaded their community’s artistic scope into the forms and painted design motifs we enjoy today from artists like Teresa Fragua. While living in the Bay Area of California during the 1950’s Juanita’s pottery began influencing fellow Jemez potters from afar. Mrs. Fragua was actively participating and selling her works in art fairs throughout the Bay Area all the while still making her pottery almost solely in the Jemez Pueblo tradition. In other words, she would gather her clay at Jemez, create the vessels in her home in California but then transport them back to Jemez to traditionally fire them. However, Juanita’s stone polished Redware and Tanware stood out in comparison with the typical Jemez pottery from the 1950’s thru the 1960’s which was far rougher in appearance than what collectors are familiar with now.
Laura Gachupin was well familiar with the typical Jemez pottery of the 1950’s thru the 1960’s for she spent some years assisting her mother in creating sun-dried poster painted pottery simply to get by while living at Jemez Pueblo. Although her mother, Marie Romero, taught Laura the standard Jemez pottery traditions the current trends of the 1950’s and 1960’s were not what a collector sees in Jemez Pueblo pottery today. Auspiciously Gachupin was chosen to attend the Institute of America Indian Arts (IAIA) after graduating high school. There she also had the good fortune of being exposed to other potters works (like Margaret Tafoya & Joseph Lonewolf) from neighboring pueblos and was inspired to change Jemez pottery as well. Laura Gachupin along with Juanita Fragua helped push Jemez pottery into a totally new direction simply by emulating others styles while bringing Jemez pottery traditions back into the forefront and thereby resurrecting Jemez Pueblo’s pottery in the 1970’s. Teresa Fragua continues that tradition to this day with her small and miniature, stone polished pots featuring corn design motifs and, at times, a micaceous slip.
Adobe Art Gallery: https://www.adobegallery.com/gallery/26887
Chuck Hall of Armadillo Trading Co. | Pueblo Indian Pottery Wholesaler: Stories shared verbally while dropping off new works on June 7, 2018. Notes taken by Dana Boucher-DeChant, Assistant Director, Morning Star Gallery
In the Eyes of The Pot: https://www.eyesofthepot.com/jemez/laura_gachupin
PuebloDirect.com – Artist Bio’s: https://www.pueblodirect.com/collections/juanita-fragua
The Dancing Rabbit Gallery: http://www.thedancingrabbitgallery.com/storeproduct2.php?productid=195&catid=45&subid=18