22 Jul Borts-Medlock, Autumn
Born 1967 in Pomona, California, raised in Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico, lives in Tijeras, New Mexico
POTTERY HAS ALWAYS been a part of my life. I have vivid memories of visiting relatives and seeing pottery in all their homes, just like in ours. My grandmothers and aunties had pots in different stages of completion all over the house – on kitchen tables, cupboards, dresser tops – every flat surface was an invitation to create.
Pottery has been and continues to be an important part of our Pueblo culture. Even when pottery was made for utilitarian use, it was still beautifully crafted and designed as an aesthetic and functional object. The shapes of our vessels and the designs placed upon them have been handed down over generations, as has the knowledge of where to dig for clay and temper, how to process it into usable clay, how to hand coil, design, carve, and all the steps involved in the creation of pottery. This was taught to me starting at a young age, and I am proud to carry on this tradition of working with clay. It connects me to my ancestors and signifies sustenance and abundance as gifts from the earth.
I continue to honor these practices by gathering my clay in the Santa Clara Pueblo Foothills, using both traditional and contemporary techniques, and elaborating on the designs handed down to me. Examples of new techniques I am exploring include multiple depth carving and creating more varied surface textures. I have also discovered more mineral oxides and micas and have begun adding more color variations to my designs.
Since 2014, I have chosen certain clay vessels for the laborious process and transformation into bronze. It is its own creative process resulting in an edition of identically shaped pieces made unique through individual patinas. Despite my satisfying work in bronze, clay will always be my artistic home. It is important that I teach my daughter the cultural and practical knowledge of pottery so important to our culture.
Notable Awards and Achievements
2019 SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, First Place/Bronze Sculpture for Avanyu
2019 SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, First Place/Clay for Conversation Piece
2019 SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, First Place/Clay for Elk Dance
2019 SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, Best of Division for Elk Dance
2018 Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market, Second Place/Bronze
2018 Cherokee Art Market, Third Place/Bronze
2018 Cherokee Art Market, Best of Class/Pottery
King Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma