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Helen Shupla

Helen and Kenneth Shupla

Helen Shupla is one of the few potters whose name has become synonymous with a particular style of pottery; the melon bowl. The ribs on these pieces are pushed out from the inside when the clay is wet. That is why there is often a slight turn to the ribs, as they are turned when she would twist her hand against the inside of the clay. As they are based on a natural form the tend to have a very organic appearance. Her pottery is crafted in the traditional manner of harvesting local clay, hand coiling, shaping and sanding, then polishing with a stone.  Helen uses traditional methods of firing her works in a open fire.  Her work can be found in museums such as the Heard Museum and the Denver Art Museum. She was also featured on the front cover of "Talking with the Clay".

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Shupla, Helen – Wedding Vase with 21 Melon Ribs (1970’s)

Helen Shupla is famous for her carved pottery as well as her exceptional melon jars.  This piece combines her melon shaped vessels with the wedding vase form. The top of the piece is the wedding vase with a twisted handle and two spouts.  The body of the piece has 21 melon ribs, which are pushed out from the inside to create the undulating form.  The entire piece is fully polished and fired a deep black coloration.   The wedding vase is signed, “Helen Shupla” on the bottom in the clay.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 2,800.00
Shupla, Helen – Melon Jar with 16 Ribs (1980’s)

Helen Shupla is certainly most famous for her exceptional melon jars.  Her melon jars are the very traditional form with the ribs pushed out in the clay.  This melon jar is one of her classic shapes with an elongated body showing the full length of each rib.  Each of the 16 ribs is pushed out into the clay.  She would do this by placing her fingers inside the bowl and pushing against the clay from both the inside and outside!  Can you see the slight angle to each section?  This is how she would turn her hand as she was pushing against the clay to create the separate ribs!  The entire piece is fully polished and fired black.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Helen Shupla”.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 2,600.00
Shupla, Helen – Bowl with Carved Avanyu (1970’s)

Helen Shupla was famous for her carved pottery as well as her exceptional melon jars.  This bowl is carved with a water serpent (avanyu) as the design.  Helen’s husband Kenneth Shupla, would often help her with the carving on the pottery.  Note the complexity of her designs and how the tail extends up over the head of the avanyu!  The bowl is highly polished and it is signed on the bottom, “Helen Shupla”  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 400.00
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