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Heart and Soul: Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery

By Kelly Church

Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery is a nearly 23-year-old Native American pottery gallery displaying and selling pieces from the mid-1800s to present. The Santa Fe, NM storefront considers itself "the premier American Indian pottery gallery in the United States." Andrea Fisher was a former buyer for the Case Trading Post shop at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian; in 1993, Fisher decided to part ways with the museum shop and start her own art gallery. She realized that all of the local galleries were dabbling in a little bit of everything: from jewelry to weavings and carvings. Instead Andrea decided to focus on pottery.

"Santa Fe is the heart and soul of the American Indian pottery world," says Derek Fisher.

The oldest pieces in the gallery, according to Fisher, are from the 1850s and are from the Southwest region. The shop also features a few select pieces from Native American pottery artists further across the United States. Mostly, they strive for an in-depth look at pottery, which allows them to follow generations of potters in one family. It's not unusual for the gallery to feature six generations of art from one family.

The gallery is also organized by pueblo. "Pueblo," says Fisher, "is a Spanish word meaning 'village,' and when the Spaniards came to this area, the discovered people living in villages." Pueblos are recognized by the federal government as independent sovereign nations. Each pueblo is unique from one another in language, religious practices - and pottery styles.

Most notably, the Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery gallery specializes in the work of Maria Martinez, from the San Ildefonso pueblo. According to Fisher, Martinez is the most famous of all Native American potters; her work is showcased in museums across the world.

The gallery also appraises American Indian pottery, both in person and via photographs sent remotely.

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