Robert Cleto Nichols is an Indian artist from Santa Clara Pueblo,
New Mexico. Fluent in his native Tewa language, Robert signs his pottery as “Tall Mountain”, the translation of his Tewa name, P’ing Tuwae. Robert was raised on the Santa Clara Pueblo reservation where he still resides.
Robert specializes in the burnished red and black pottery that is traditional to Santa Clara Pueblo. A painter and sculptor as well as a potter, Robert in his carved pottery focuses on the relationship of the design to the form of the pottery. He is interested in finding the three dimensional harmony of the carved surface and its silhouette. In his series of works called “story bowls”, he explores how various surface design elements in sequence interrelate to form a greater whole. Almost like a haiku, one design relates the stylized motifs of parrot, cloud/rain symbol, and fish into a subtle whole:
Parrot brings rainfall.
Clouds burst in torrents, fill streams.
Fish very happy!