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Steve Lucas

Steve Lucas

Steve Lucas is a great-great-grandson of Nampeyo of Hano.  His grandmother was Rachel Nampeyo and his great-grandmother was Annie Healing.  While Steve grew up around potter he primarily learned the art from his aunt, Dextra Quotskuyva Nampeyo. His pottery is amazingly thin-walled, and each piece has a dynamic use of form and design. The pottery is coil built, stone polished, painted and traditionally fired.  Steve uses not only traditional designs but often gives his own creative "spin" to the ancient imagery.  His pottery is signed with his name and the Mudhead symbol, or Koyemsi. This is reflective of his Hopi-Tewa clan.   Steve has won numerous awards for his pottery, including "Best of Show" at Santa Fe Indian Market.  We are pleased to carry his works at both our Scottsdale and Santa Fe locations.  Steve is featured artist in the recent book by our gallery owner Charles S. King, 'Spoken Through Clay". Click Here to See more works by Steve Lucas!

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Lucas, Steve – Jar with Bird Wing Designs

This is a striking new larger jar by Steve Lucas.  He is one of the leading Hopi-Tewa potters working today.  Each piece is coil built, stone polished, painted with native clay slips and bee-weed (black) and traditionally fired.  Steve has won “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market and his work remains some of the most refined and creative.  This jar is made by mixing together two of the Hopi clays created swirling colors in the clay (which can best be seen on the bottom). The jar has a wide shoulder and a slight neck.  The design above the shoulder is a bird wing pattern which connects in four sections. The polished areas are a deep red and a brown clay slip.  Note the complexity in the design and the coloration. It takes more time to polish the slips after they are painted, but the result is also more dynamic as they reflect the light.  Below the shoulder is a star pattern created out of diamond-shaped patterns.  Steve said of these designs:

“I think about the ancients. I used to hike out to Sikyatki a lot when I stayed out at my mom’s place and look at the pottery sherds. You could pick up a sherd, wipe it off, and the design would still be brilliant. I would be amazed at how well the painting had held up to all the weather over all those centuries. I would find some interesting designs, and I would put them on my pieces. Those ancients were good artists and are an inspiration to me.”  Steve Lucas, Spoken Through Clay

The jar was traditionally fired which created the blushes on the surface.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “S. Lucas” and a mudhead (koyemsi) and an ear of corn (corn clan).  It’s great to see such strong new work from him both in design and form!

$ 2,600.00
Lucas, Steve – Jar with Hopi Eagle Tail Designs

This is a striking new large jar by Steve Lucas.  He is one of the leading Hopi-Tewa potters working today.  Each piece is coil built, stone polished, painted with native clay slips and bee-weed (black) and traditionally fired.  Steve has won “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market and his work remains some of the most refined and creative.  This jar is painted above the shoulder with four eagle tail designs.  They extend down from the neck to the shoulder.  Separating them are the bird heads.  There are additional polished red and brown clay slips used without the jar.  It takes more time to polish the slips after they are painted, but the result is also more dynamic as they reflect the light.  Steve said of these designs:

“I think about the ancients. I used to hike out to Sikyatki a lot when I stayed out at my mom’s place and look at the pottery sherds. You could pick up a sherd, wipe it off, and the design would still be brilliant. I would be amazed at how well the painting had held up to all the weather over all those centuries. I would find some interesting designs, and I would put them on my pieces. Those ancients were good artists and are an inspiration to me.”  Steve Lucas, Spoken Through Clay

Below the shoulder, Steve has painted a series of polychrome rain and cloud patterns. Again, they are highlighted with the polished clay sections in red and brown.  Near the base, the entire piece is fully polished a deep red.  This definitely adds to the overall dynamic appearance of this piece.    The numerous colors and the precision of the painting is a bit breathtaking on this piece.  The jar was traditionally fired which created the blushes on the surface.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “S. Lucas” and a mudhead (koyemsi) and an ear of corn (corn clan).  Spectacular!

$ 3,400.00
Lucas, Steve – Jar with Sikyatki Birds

This is a complex new jar by Steve Lucas.  He is one of the leading Hopi-Tewa potters working today.  Each piece is coil built, stone polished, painted with native clay slips and bee-weed (black) and traditionally fired.  Steve has won “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market and his work remains some of the most refined and creative.  This jar is painted with a series of interlocking birds which are inspired in style by the work of his ancestor, Nampeyo of Hano.  Each bird is painted with, red and brown clay slips, each of which is polished!  It takes more time to polish the slips after they are painted, but the result is also more dynamic as they reflect the light.  The area below the shoulder is also fully painted with a star pattern. The base of the bowl is polished a deep red.  It is this deep red clay slip with just a bit of mica, for which Steve is famous.  He said of the red:

“When I first learned to make pottery, the red slip painted in the designs was difficult to work with. It wouldn’t take heat very well and would scorch and turn black. The red was also difficult to polish. My aunt Dextra had a deep red color clay slip, and I decided to experiment with it. I took some of our base clay and added the red to it and it polished very well. I then decided to put some mica in there to get that sparkle. That’s where the new red came from, and Dextra liked how it turned out. I introduced them to that. It was nice that for my teacher, Dextra, I was able to share and teach her something.”  Steve Lucas, Spoken Through Clay

The numerous colors and the precision of the painting is striking.  The jar was traditionally fired which created the blushes on the surface.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “S. Lucas” and a mudhead (koyemsi) and an ear of corn (corn clan).  Spectacular!

$ 2,000.00
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King, Charles S., “Spoken Through Clay”

Spoken Through Clay

A NEW  RELEASE SPECIAL:  $95.00, including shipping (US)! Check out the new review in the Denver Post!

 Just a few things which make this book unique!
*   The size!  The book is 11.75″ x 14.25″ and weights over 8 pounds!
*  The photography of the pottery is stunning, emphasizing the individual pieces.
*  Each caption is the artist discussing the individual piece on the page.
*  The artist “biographies” are from interviews with the artists and they discuss their art, culture, lives and history.
*  Organization: The book is not organized by pueblo or family, but entails new ways to think about the future of Native pottery.
*  Printing in Italy gives the book very high quality color and paper.
* The photos of the living artists were taken by Will Wilson using a tin-type process. He was a recipient of the 2107 New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in photography!
*  The book features work by more than 30 contemporary potters and more than a dozen important historic potters.
*  There are essays by myself, Peter Held and Eric Dobkin.  They add to the overall understanding of the project a historic perspective.

_____________________________________________

August 18, Pasatiempo Review

“Charles S. King’s new book, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery in the Southwest, The Eric S. Dobkin Collection, is spectacularly heavy —which is a problem from a practical standpoint, because once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. With dreamy tintype artist portraits by Diné photographer Will Wilson, dazzlingly crisp images from Addison Doty, and intimate first-person essays written by dozens of artists, the book is a visually delicious, intellectually consuming foray into historic and contemporary Southwestern pottery. In short, prepare to swoon.

If you’re thinking of this as a coffee-table book, you’ll need to imagine a decently sized coffee table. The book is more than a foot tall and, when opened, two feet wide, but its outsize appearance belies the often delicate beauty of its contents: hundreds of individual pieces of pottery from Eric S. Dobkin’s exquisitely curated collection — arguably the largest and most important of its kind. Gallery owner, author, and Pueblo pottery expert King designed Spoken Through Clay to be approachable for those unfamiliar with Native American pottery. “In the age of social media, I wanted to make the book both visually striking and personal,” King said. The book opens with essays by King, Dobkin, and curator Peter Held, who calls clay “the most archival of materials … seductive, sensuous, responsive, geologic, and malleable.”

“I wanted the end result of the book to be that the reader would connect with the artists in a personal way, beyond just the art, and understand the time it takes to become an artist, to achieve success,” King said. Sprawling yet intimate, Spoken Through Clay introduces its readers not just to the beauty of Southwestern pottery but also to the fascinating stories of the people who make it.Iris McLister, Pasatiempo

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“It’s one of the things that makes us who we are. It’s what holds our family together. We are a family of potters. It’s our identity. People don’t realize how much work goes into it just processing the clay and making it. You have to do it with your heart.”—Linda Tafoya-Sanchez

 

FEATURED ARTISTS Grace Medicine Flower • Dextra Quotskuyva • Autumn Borts-Medlock • Jody Naranjo • Harrison Begay Jr. • Jordan Roller • Sara Fina Tafoya • Lonnie Vigil • Margaret Tafoya • Steve Lucas • LuAnn Tafoya • Loren Ami • Toni Roller • Popovi Da • Linda Tafoya-Sanchez • Mark Tahbo • James Ebelacker• Yvonne Lucas • Jeff Roller • Lisa Holt • Harlan Reano • Nampeyo • Jacquie Stevens • Nathan Youngblood • Jacob Koopee Jr. • Jennifer Moquino • Christopher Youngblood • Maria Martinez • Tony Da • Tammy Garcia • Virgil Ortiz • Joseph Lonewolf • Johnathan Naranjo • Nancy Youngblood • Les Namingha • Russell Sanchez • Christine McHorse • Richard Zane Smith • Rondina Huma • Susan Folwell • Dominique Toya • Jody Folwell

Spoken Through Clay features the pottery of iconic Native American artists from historic potters Nampeyo and Maria Martinez, to contemporary potters Tammy Garcia, Virgil Ortiz, and many others, are featured in a new book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection, covering a wide range of mostly Pueblo artists from the Southwest.

“The physical scale of the vessels combined with the depth of the contemporary collection [is] breathtaking,” says author Charles S. King. The book is part of a “transitional process of looking to the clay, the vessel, and the potter’s voice and allowing the pieces to stand on the merit of their artistic integrity.”

The book includes portraits and voices of renowned potters speaking about their artistry and technique, families, culture, and traditions. Many of the artists are connected by Pueblos, generations, or family members. Dynamic color photography captures the depth and dimension of the pieces, while the artists provide an illuminating perspective through narrative captions. Artists, academics, collectors, family members, and gallerists add additional insight about the lives, historical context, and importance of these potters and their work.

SPOKEN THROUGH CLAY Native Pottery of the Southwest The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
By Charles S. King Essay by Peter Held

Artist portraits by Will Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-89013-624-9

352 pages, 320 color plates, 40 artist portraits

Publication Date: August 01, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charles S. King is the author of Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, The Life and Art of Tony Da, Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180, and numerous articles on Pueblo pottery. He has served on boards of art associations, judged pottery at prestigious events, and lectures about the art form. His business King Galleries represents many of today’s leading Native potters and important historic works in clay. Charles lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

$ 125.00 $ 95.00
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