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Hopi Pottery – Tewa Group

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Hopi-Tewa pottery is created on the Hopi Reservation which is located in northeastern Arizona.  It is an area that is surrounded by the Navajo Reservation. Hopi consists of three Mesas, each of which has several villages.  The Hopi-Tewa people speak the Tewa language and are primarily located in First Mesa in the villages of Hano and Polacca. They are descendants of the Tewa-speaking Pueblo people of New Mexico who came to the Mesa around the time of the Pueblo Revolt in 1680. It is this group of artisans who are best known for their decorative pottery, especially the revival pottery of the ancient Sikyatki forms and designs.  Sikyatki was located at the base of First Mesa.  The pottery is carefully hand constructed using the coil and scrape techniques their ancestors taught them.  The paints used are from naturally occurring materials.  For example, black paint is made by boiling Bee-weed for a long time until it becomes very dark and thick. It is then dried into little cakes which are wrapped in corn husk until ready for use.  The intricate and beautiful designs are painted freehand using a yucca leaf brush.  The red and other colors are from natural clay slips.  The pots are then fired in the open air out on the mesa using sheep dung and cedar as a heat source.