Melissa Antonio, member of the Red Corn Clan and the Sun Clan, was born into the Acoma Pueblo in 1965. She is from a recognized Acoma family, specializes in designs which use simple geometric figures arranged into exceedingly complex designs. Here is one of her pieces where she uses a design made up of simple black and white squares of exquisite detail. Melissa uses traditional methods of making her pottery, digs the clay herself, coils and smoothes the pot, makes her own paints, paints the designs with a yucca brush. She does fire in a kiln. You'd think that she used some sort of geometric machine, her patterns are so precise. However, she just “eyeballs” the design, draws the horizontal lines and then the vertical lines and creates the patterns by filling in appropriate squares. Some call this pattern a cross-word puzzle design; if so, it would be a big puzzle. Be sure to click on this image to see an enlarged graphic of this intricate design. She uses the term “olla” to describe this shape. A term picked up from the Spanish, olla means a water container. These shapes are patterned after the ollas used by the Acoma women in past centuries to carry water to their dwellings on the top of the mesa at Acoma. Many Acoma ollas will have a slightly concave bottom, which gave the container better balance when carried atop their heads.

9” high by 10 ½” wide