Swirl Pot with Micaceous Slip by Hubert Candelario, San Felipe Pueblo clay with micaceous slip 4 1/4" high x 5 7/8" diameter
Hubert Candelario was born in San Felipe Pueblo on November 2, 1965. In the 1980s, he developed an interest in clay and began experimenting with pottery techniques and form. He was inspired by the work of the late Maria Martinez, who was well known for her black on black pottery, and by Nancy Youngblood and ancient Pueblo pottery designs.
As a potter, Hubert is a self-taught artist. He began working with clay when he was about nineteen, experimenting with different types of clay until he found his own unique style. Since there are very few potters from San Felipe Pueblo, Hubert was not able to benefit from learning the techniques from other potters but had to experiment with his own personal style. He says, “As a contemporary Native American Indian potter I have no limits, only choices. There are only [a few] potters at San Felipe Pueblo and I’m one.”
Hubert Candelario talks about pushing the boundaries of San Felipe Pueblo pottery. The cylindrical piece featured in this video was inspired by nanotube structure.
After mastering basic pottery techniques, Hubert used his experience in structure and design to move beyond the boundaries of traditional pottery. He now specializes in hand-coiled contemporary “swirl,” “puzzle,” and “holey” pots with pierced construction. Hubert continues to be inspired by structures such as the nanotube. When speaking about one of his “holey” pots Hubert said:
“I have always loved structure and design, fields that I originally studied at school. While making [the] pot, I thought about ways to incorporate structural principles into the design. I began cutting away holes in a traditional pot to see how far I could push the limits of structure. It was a technical challenge that succeeded.”
Hubert gathers clay near and around the Pueblos. He cleans, mixes, coils, shapes, sands, and then fires his pottery in a kiln. The bodies of his pots are almost impossibly thin and made from red clay with a micaceous slip. This gives his pottery its characteristic color and texture.
Hubert’s work was prominently displayed at the “Changing Hands” exhibit and catalog from the American Craft Museum in New York City. Several of his swirl melon jars and a holey pot are in the Denver Art Museum’s permanent collection. Hubert says that he would like the public to see that each of the San Felipe potters has a unique style and that he hopes to see more potters and more pottery styles created there. Today, Hubert lives in Albuquerque where he is a full-time potter and student.