This is a warm and wonderful old style singing mother by Ada Suina, perhaps Cochiti’s preeminent potter of traditional storyteller forms. The slightly turned head adds subtle movement; the piece is formed and painted beautifully. Note the bulge of the arm under the delicately carved shawl and the fine lines on the shawl’s fringe, visible in the second image (click on the small 2nd image for a close up).
Ada is in her 80’s now and clearly still capable of producing beautiful work. That is why it is sad that she may produce little, if any, more. I visited her in Santa Fe in October and she said that she is totally out of the white Cochiti slip that she and others have used for so long. The clay source is used up and no one has found an alternative. Ada has tried a substitute slip, showing me an experimental cup that fired a yellow color and bled out the rich black vegetal paint so important to Cochiti ceramic figures. I hope that these aren’t my last pieces from Ada. If they are, the work of one of the last Cochiti storyteller artists, producing and firing traditionally designed work in a traditional manner with traditional material will soon become part of pueblo pottery history.
The singing mother is in excellent original condition and would be a timely and wonderful addition to a collection of traditional Cochiti figures.