Rick Dillingham became interested in the pottery of the Indigenous peoples of the southwest United States at a very early age. He enrolled at the University of New Mexico where, in addition to his studies in art, he worked on the restoration of archaeological pottery. The reconstruction process this involved then became a core element of his own work. For example, this vessel was deliberately broken up into several pieces following an initial firing. The fragments were subsequently painted and glazed individually, fired a second time and reassembled, leaving the joins visible. Such an approach challenges the notion of a vessel as an intact object. Dillingham was also a dealer in Indigenous art; in 1974 he organized the exhibition Seven Families in Pueblo Pottery.