Acoma was located on an incredible mesa to prevent attacks from enemies. Because of its location, “Ako” is called the Sky Village. The people are Keres Indians. Acoma pottery is noted for its qualities of being exceptionally thin, hard-fired, and light-weight. The clay is ground first to a fine powder, then soaked in water and mixed with crushed potsherds. The white slip is a variety of kaolin clay, used elsewhere for making porcelain. The kaolin grabs the paints added to the surface. The beautiful reds are of either ground sandstone or red ochre. The black is a mixture of powdered black hematite (mineral) and guaco, an organic or carbon-based paint that acts as a fixative. Guaco is made of boiled, wild spinach, also called bee weed. This bird motif is a typical Acoma design.
Illustrated in Spirits in the Art, by James A. Hanson, p-236