Native American pottery is fun to collect. There are so many different pueblos, and each one has its own style of pottery. While collecting the pottery, you are also learning a lot about Native American art and culture.
This form of art has been practiced for thousands of years. Yet it is constantly improving as modern artists are experimenting with new techniques and designs. You can purchase antique pottery or modern versions, and each has its pros and cons. Of course, the older pottery is much more expensive, if it is in good condition, because of the value as an antique. But the newer pottery can be just as beautiful or even more so. It is important to collect what you like and can afford.
The first thing you should do is visit some websites and look at photos of Native American pottery. When you see enough good quality pottery, you will train your eye to recognize what is good. Be sure to read some books on the subject as well.
If you can visit New Mexico or Arizona, be sure to visit some of the pueblos where the pottery is made. Often the pueblo will have a cultural center where they display works of the local artists, along with a lot of information about their history and crafts. This will help you get a feel for the pottery as well.
You can purchase pottery at these cultural centers, but you might be better off buying the pottery directly from the artist. For sure, you should not buy the pottery at the expensive shops in the tourist areas of Santa Fe or Albuquerque. It will be marked up a great deal there.
You can also purchase pueblo pottery online. You can often get some good discounts at online sites. Of course, you can’t handle the pottery then, so be sure that they have good photos of the pottery at the website.
Try to get the largest examples of pottery you can afford. It should not have any chips or cracks, as that will reduce the value. Also, some pottery is made from molds, which is ok, but the hand made pottery is more valuable. In any case, even the pottery made from a mold should be hand painted beautifully by the potter.
It is fun to collect pottery from the different pueblos. It is amazing how different they can be. The differences could be in the color of clay used, the shapes of the pottery, the subject matter of sculptures, the amount of carving on the piece, the style of painting, and so on. Get a good book showing the various styles. It wll help you a lot.
There are many different types of pottery too. Some are ollas, bowls, seed pots, traditional wedding vases, story teller figurines, figures of animals, and many others.
Some of the Native American potters have become quite famous, and their work can be very expensive, but it is also extremely beautiful. But the work of lesser known potters can be lovely as well, and is much more affordable. You can always start out simply and purchase more expensive pottery as you get more familiar with it.
Enjoy your new hobby of collecting Native American pottery!