Jan has been dabbling in ceramics since 1994, but her interest in the medium became focused after her archaeologist daughter invited her to study with Felipe Ortega, a master in the traditional micaceous pottery techniques of the Northern Rio Grande and the Jicarilla Apache.
Felipe not only taught her to work with the clay but also to understand and appreciate the importance of the clay to his people.
The rich micaceous clay is dug directly from deposits in the Sangre de Cristos Mountains of northern New Mexico. The fabric of this clay is more than 80% mica and finished vessels glitter like gold. The stunning beauty of micaceous pottery is matched only by its functionality. For over 800 years, micaceous vessels have adorned the adobe kitchens of New Mexico and are still used today to slow cook beans, chilies, and meat with delightful results.
According to Indian tradition, vessels as containers and metaphors of life hold within them the beauty of all living things.
Picuris Mountains, New Mexico