OHKAY OWINGEH -- A black, deep-carved storage jar was a star of the show.
People sporting cowboy hats and oversized sun visors jockeyed to get a glimpse of the creation by Judy and Lincoln Tafoya of Santa Clara Pueblo.
Titled Avanyue, the piece was judged ``Best in Traditional Pottery'' on Saturday as the 35th Annual Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show got under way at Ohkay Owingeh, formerly known as San Juan Pueblo. The show continues today.
Hundreds braved July heat to stroll the grounds, some eating Navajo tacos as they looked over the work of Native artists and craftsmen.
There were baskets and jewelry by Carol F. Naranjo of Santa Clara and jewelry made by Ferdinand and Sylvia Hooee from Zuni. One popular booth displayed Eagle Dancer figurines by 18-year-old Loren Wallowingbull of Jemez Pueblo, who won the Best in Youth award.
``We've made a conscious effort to try to bring artists back into the show,'' said John Gonzales, executive director of the show and a former exhibitor. ``They have left for a number of reasons, one being that it is fairly close to the Santa Fe Indian Market.''
The Santa Fe market, which draws thousands to the capital city's downtown each August, is the granddaddy of such events. The 85th Santa Fe Indian Market, known as the world's largest exhibition and sale of American Indian arts and crafts, will be Aug. 19-20.
Gonzales said organizers of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos show, which has about 300 participants, succeeded in luring some artists back this year.
``We made an aggressive effort to advertise the event,'' he said. ``Some of the artists I've talked with today, they said the turnout was really good, as far as the number of customers that have come by.''
Gonzales said the show is a means for some artists to advance their careers. ``I know with the Santa Fe Indian Market being the premier show of the year, it's very competitive and difficult to get in,'' he said. ``This show here serves as a springboard.''
The event also features dancers from various pueblos. Their dances are intended to have healing power, create a sense of community and provide a form of expression for grief and joy. The Ohkay Owingeh Dance Group performed the Eagle Dance on Saturday, and the Pojoaque Pueblo Red Turtle Dancers performed the Butterfly Dance.
Rufina ``Ruby'' Panana, a fourth-generation potter from Zia Pueblo, has been coming to the show for 20 years. The best thing about it for her, she said, is ``seeing old friends and getting the community together.''
Benson Halwood traveled from Canyon de Chelly in Arizona to exhibit his paintings of the landscapes around his home. This was his third year.
Shirley Davis of Colorado Springs, Colo., said she has been coming for about five years. ``We first started going to the Santa Fe Indian Market and then heard about this one. We like this better than the Indian Market in many ways,'' she said.
Contact Ana Maria Trujillo at 995-3803 or email@example.com.
If You Go . . .
35th Annual Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Arts & Crafts Show
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today
Ohkay Owingeh, three miles north of Espanola
$4 for adults 18-54, $3 for seniors and youths, free for children 11 and younger; still-camera permit is $10; video and/or recording devices prohibited