Thomas Tenorio | This artist is a member of SWAIA.org
Hello, I am Thomas Tenorio and a proud member of Kewa Pueblo (Santo Domingo Pueblo) and I started making pottery in the early 1990's. I came from a family of heshi makers but found out my maternal great-grandmother had made traditional Kewa pottery and sold them on the side of the road off I-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque in the mid 1900's. I realized then in the early 1990's that only a few families continued to make traditional Kewa style pottery. I was then inspired to learn so that I could keep the tradition alive.
I am a self-taught potter and I learnt on my own through a lot of trial and error. I credit Kenneth Chapman's book, The Pottery of Santo Domingo Pueblo; for providing me with examples of old Santo Domingo designs. I use hand processed Kewa temper and clay which I clean, mix, hand coil, shape, decorate and fire outdoors in an open flame, just as my ancestors did for hundreds of years. It took me years to figure out the chemistry between the buff slip and wild spinach for my designs to turn black. Finally in 2006 everything all came together where I could say my pottery is now Traditional Kewa pottery. This is the first year I participated in the Santa Fe Indian Market, which is an honor to be among other renowned Native artists.
My inspiration comes from other artists from different tribes. I can sit for hours and get lost in my painting and love painting the swirls of water, the wind, traditional birds and fish. I am exploring new shapes and designs in my recent work but will not forget the traditional shapes and designs of Kewa.
I sign my pottery, "Thomas Tenorio, Kewa, NM" with the year the pot was created. My pottery can be found in homes through out the world and in the following collections:
The White House, Washington DC
Rockefeller Museum, New York City
Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Santa Fe, NM
Pueblo Grande Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Crocker's Museum, Sacramento, CA