Erik Fender was born in 1970
into the San Ildefonso Pueblo. He specializes in traditional
and contemporary blackware pottery.
He started the art of pottery
making by watching his grandmother, Carmelita Dunlap, as she
would hand coil and hand paint her traditional black -on-black
pottery. As he grew older, he started to experiment more with
various techniques and clays.
His style progressed from
the traditional black-on-black pottery to an innovated two tone,
black-on-red, separated by sgraffito low relief carving. He also
makes beautiful polychrome pots and presently he specializes
in green-on-black pots.
He harvests his clumps of
raw clay from the sacred grounds within the pueblo, then he breaks
the clumps of clay to a fine powder substance and mixes it with
volcanic ash and water, once that process is complete he hand
coils snake like forms and begins to construct his vessel.
When the vessel is built it
is set out to dry. Once it has dried he sands it down to smooth
out the surface. He stone polishes and hand paints his designs
with all natural paints which are all boiled from native vegetation
grown in the pueblo.
He is related to Martha Appleleaf
Fender (mother), Carmelita Dunlap (grandmother), Linda Dunlap
(aunt), Jeannie Mountain Flower Dunlap (aunt), and Carlos Dunlap
(grandfather). He signs his pottery as Than Tsideh which means