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hopi pueblo potteryHopi Pottery

Hopi Pottery is created on the Hopi Reservation located in northeastern Arizona surrounded by the Navajo Reservation. Hopi consists of three Mesas, and each Mesa has several villages. Modern Hopi pottery makers use traditional methods to create their artworks.  The clay is collected from the Hopi mesas then kneaded and processed by hand.  The pots are then 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. It is called guaco.  The intricate and beautiful designs are painted freehand using a yucca leaf brush. The pots are then fired in the open air out on the mesa using sheep dung and cedar wood as a heat source. See Hopi-Tewa Group Pottery

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Nampeyo, Iris – Black & White Bowl with Corn Design

Iris Nampeyo is a daughter of Fannie Nampeyo and a well known for her elegant asymmetrical vessels with corn as part of the design in relief.  Iris began using the corn in relief on the surface of her pottery in the early 1980’s. The corn is symbolic of being part of the Corn Clan.  The surface of the bowl is stone polished and the corn on the front is in applique relief.  The husk of the corn is sharp and the matte area extends around to the base of the jar.  The matte areas are in contrast to the remainder of the piece which is polished.  The opening is asymmetrical which is in keeping with the organic style of the form. What is very unusual on this piece is the coloration, which is a white clay with black areas from the firecloud.  It is stunning in appearance and the swirls of color around the sruface.  There is a simplicity and elegance in her pottery.   While she no longer makes pottery, her vessels remain classic.  This piece is signed on the bottom in the clay and it is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 1,200.00
Namoki, Lawrence – “Buffalo Dance” Seedpot

Lawrence Namoki has been known for a variety of styles in his pottery.  This is an earlier piece of his pottery from the 1980’s.  It is a seedpot entitled, “Buffalo Dance”.  It has a male and female Buffalo Dancer on each side.  The top of the seedpot has a sunface with a feather pattern.  The Dancers are deeply carved into the clay and texturized.  The various layers of carving to create shadows and depth to the seedpot.  All the different colors are dervied from natural clay slips.  The areas on the side and at the bottom of the seedpot are slipped so that it looks like wood.  The seedpot is signed and titled on the bottom.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 500.00
White, Elizabeth – Mauve Clay Jar with Double Corn (1974)

Elizabeth White created distinctive pottery using the various colors of Hopi clay. She originated the use of the ear of corn as a design in repousse (pushed out from the inside) on her pottery. Her pottery is all signed in the clay with her Hopi name Polingaysi, which means, “butterfly sitting among the flowers in the breeze”.  This jar is one of her classic pieces with two ears of corn.  The coloration of the clay is the distinctive and much sought after “mauve”.  The entire piece is stone polished to a high shine except for the two ears of corn which are unpolished matte.  The narrow shape is very much like the jars that her nephew Al Qoyawayma makes which he calls “wish pots”.  He tells the story that the name comes from Elizabeth as she said people would look at the pieces and say, “I wish I could have one”.  This jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  Interestingly, Polingaysi was a school teacher and taught at Hopi and  Navajo schools for almost 40 years.  On retirement from teaching, she became an artist, a poet, and a philosopher.  Her career as a potter was begun late in life, after her retirement, so there is very little of her work available. It is a classic of her work and an important addition to any collection!

$ 1,200.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Mauve Harmony Jar with Reverse Corn (1996)

This jar by Al Qoyawayma is made from mauve Hopi clay.  It is from 1996 and the shape is what Al calls a “Harmony Jar”.  It has a round body and an elongated neck with a turned out rim.  The jar is vertically polished creating an “onion skin” appearance to the surface.  The design on the jar is a single carved area which has a corn design carved into the clay.  It is a simple, but elegant form and design.   It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 2,500.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Red Jar with Double Corn (1990)

This jar by Al Qoyawayma is made from red Hopi clay.  It is from 1990 and has a round body and an asymmetric neck. The entire piece is fully polished except for the two ears of corn.  They are pushed out in the clay, carved and texturized and are matte.  The style of the corn is reminiscent of the work of his aunt, Elizabeth White.  She would often incorporate corn as a design on her pottery.  The coloration of the matte and polished red is striking.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 2,500.00
Loloma, Charles -Jar with Corn Maidens (1950’s)

Charles Loloma is a name synonymous with innovative Hopi jewelry. He began his jewelry career with a brief period of time also making pottery in the 1950’s.  The pieces were made form earthenware and were painted and glazed.  By the 1960’s his jewelry was already achieving some fame and he discontinued making pottery.  His clay pieces are relatively rare but fascinating in terms of form, design and glaze. In many ways they mirror the innovative style of his jewelry relative to the other work being created at Hopi at the same time.  This tall jar is fully designed with corn maiden motifs.  They are etched into the clay.  The surface is matte but the rim is glazed.  This is certainly an exceptional piece of his pottery! It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Loloma”.

$ 1,800.00
Duwyenie, Preston – Wide Shifting Sand Design Jar with 3 Silver Insets

Preston Duwyenie is known for his Hopi pottery which blends modern and traditional aspects of the art. This jar is made from a white clay which he finds near Second Mesa at Hopi.  The shape is interesting, as it is a much more Hopi-Tewa from with the wide shoulder and sloping neck.  This is certainly a shape one would associate with Nampeyo fo Hano.  The neck and area below the shoulder are fully polished.  There is a band around the shoulder which has the shifting sand design is carved into the clay.  What makes the “sand” area so fascinating is how Preston carves it so that it has a very natural appearance.  Separating each of the three panels are rectangular sections, each with a single inset piece of silver.  The silver insets are cast from cuttle-fish bone (a type of squid).  The casting creates a similar style of ‘shifting sand’ design to complement the clay areas!  The thin walls of the bowl, the organic feel of the shifting sand and the strength of the silver insets are elegant on this piece.  The piece is signed on the bottom with is hallmark signed on the bottom in the clay with Preston’s hallmark which is a woman carrying a child and his Hopi name, which means “carried in beauty”.   Preston is from Third Mesa at Hopi and taught ceramics for years at Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

Why the shifting sand designs? Preston says he remembers watching a smooth pebble caught in sand being shifted by the wind, “there was beauty in its isolation within the sea of sand. It was like an island.  The endless sands of time, and the fact that people, too are tossed about by the wind. There is always rippling in our lives”.

$ 1,800.00
Setalla, Stetson – Large Tile with Hopi Designs

Stetson Setalla is a son of noted potter Pauline Setalla.  This large tile is fully polished.  It has a variety of traditional Hopi designs including rain, cloud and mesa patterns.  The thin lines are beautifully painted.  There are four different colors of clay slip used in the various designs. The black is bee-weed and there are strong blushes from the firing. It is signed on the back. Interestingly, the first time I met Stetson was through the famous photographer Jerry Jacka, around 1998.  Jerry was photographing Stetson’s pottery for is book on Hopi art and asked Stetson to stay until I arrived so I could see his pottery!  Definitely a talented potter from the very beginning!

$ 180.00
Setalla, Stetson – Large Tile with Hummingbird & Dragonflies

Stetson Setalla is a son of noted potter Pauline Setalla.  This large tile is fully polished.  It has a stylized hummingbird and flower on the front along with two dragonflies.  There are two different colors of red which comeplment the various areas of the painting.  The black is bee-weed and there are strong blushes from the firing. It is signed on the back. Interestingly, the first time I met Stetson was through the famous photographer Jerry Jacka, around 1998.  Jerry was photographing Stetson’s pottery for is book on Hopi art and asked Stetson to stay until I arrived so I could see his pottery!  Definitely a talented potter from the very beginning!

$ 180.00
Duwyenie, Preston – Red “Earth in Balance” Bowl

This piece by Preston Duwyenie is made from red Hopi clay. The shape is inspired by early Sikyatki pottery with wide, low shoulders.  The body of the piece is fully polished with a matte area near the top.  The polished area is meant to represent the earth, the raised area the waters and the higher matte areas the land and mountains.  It is “the earth in balance” as all three are connected.  The bowl is rounded on the bottom and there is an acrylic base which comes with the piece to hold it steady.  The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay with Preston’s hallmark which is a woman carrying a child.  Preston is from Third Mesa at Hopi, and taught ceramics for years at Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

$ 900.00
Nampeyo, Iris – Mauve Jar with Corn Design

Iris Nampeyo is famous for her pottery with the corn in relief.  This jar is unusual as it is slipped with a “mavue” colored clay.  It is an interesting story about the color, as Iris found this mauve colored clay in the early 1990’s and began to use it as a slip to polish her pottery.  What’s interesting is that other potters (Mark Tahbo and Jake Koopee) also found some of the mauve colored clay, but they were never able to polish it and have it retain its coloration.  To this day, Iris is the only HopiTewa potter to have found a polish-able form of the mavue clay.  However, Hopi potters Al Qoyawayma and his aunt, Elizabeth White also found a mauve colored clay from another source.  The result, as in this jar, is an unusual and striking coloration.  While it has a more purple hue, she always called it “mavue”.  Iris began using the corn in relief on the surface of her pottery in the early 1980’s. The corn is symbolic of being part of the Corn Clan.  The surface of the bowl is stone polished and the corn on the front is in applique relief.  The husk of the corn is sharp and the matte area extends around to the base of the jar.  The matte areas are in contrast to the remainder of the piece which is polished.  The opening is asymmetrical which is in keeping with the organic style of the form.  There is a simplicity and elegance in her pottery.  While she no longer makes pottery, her vessels remain classic.  This piece is signed on the bottom in the clay and it is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 1,600.00
Duwyenie, Preston – Shifting Sand Jar with Silver Insets

The coloration on this wide shoulder jar by Preston Duwyenie is striking.  It is made from Hopi clay and stone polished on the neck and below the shoulder.   Around the shoulder of the jar it is carved in a natural manner to represent the sand in the desert and its constant movement.  The “sand” sections are matte with  just a bit of mica visible int he clay.  There are three inset pieces of silver, which have an additional “shifting sand” pattern.  The silver is cast against cuttle-fish bone (a type of squid).  This process creates a similar style of shifting sand design to complement the clay.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay with Preston’s hallmark which is a woman carrying a child as the hallmark for his name in Hopi.  Preston is from Third Mesa at Hopi, and taught ceramics for years at Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

“Why the shifting sand designs? Preston says he remembers watching a smooth pebble caught in sand being shifted by the wind, “there was beauty in its isolation within the sea of sand. It was like an island.  The endless sands of time, and the fact that people, too are tossed about by the wind. There is always rippling in our lives”.

$ 1,800.00
Nampeyo, Nellie – Wide Bowl with Eagle Tail Designs

Nellie Nampeyo Douma was the second daughter of Nampeyo of Hano and a sister of Fannie Nampeyo and Annie Nampeyo.  This small bowl is coil built and painted with bee-weed for the black.  The design is an eagle tail design which has a very tightly painted appearance.  The design is repeated four times around the bowl.  It is traditionally fired with some blushes on the surface.  It is signed on the bottom, “Nellie Nampeyo”.  It is in good condition with no cracks, restoration or repair. There is a small inclusion on the side, which appears to be pre-firing.

$ 400.00
Kahe, Val – Seedpot with Shard Design

Val Kahe is a daughter of noted potter Gloria Kahe.  She is known for her intricately painted pottery.  This is one of her more complex designed seedpots. The top half has a series of pottery shards, which are inter-connected.  Most are painted with bee-weed (black) while some are polished a deep red and then painted with the black bee-weed.  Each of the red shards is a different bird or moth or flower or mosquito!  Check out the very fine lines used in her painting!  The seedpot has then been traditionally fired to create the fire clouds.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 875.00
Duwyenie, Preston – Black Shifting Sand Jar with Silver Insets

This is a striking wide shoulder jar by Preston Duwyenie.  It is made from Hopi clay and then slipped with mica on the base and neck. The shoulder of the jar is carved in a natural manner to represent the sand in the desert and its constant movement.  The “sand” sections are matte while the remainder is slipped with mica.  The entire jar is fired black and the result is stunning!  The micaceous areas are almost metallic in appearance.  The matte is a perfect contrast.  There are also three inset pieces of silver, which have an additional “shifting sand” pattern.  The silver is cast against cuttle-fish bone (a type of squid).  This process creates a similar style of shifting sand design to complement the clay.  The jar is flat on the bottom and signed in the clay with Preston’s hallmark which is a woman carrying a child as the hallmark for his name in Hopi.  Preston is from Third Mesa at Hopi, and taught ceramics for years at Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

“Why the shifting sand designs? Preston says he remembers watching a smooth pebble caught in sand being shifted by the wind, “there was beauty in its isolation within the sea of sand. It was like an island.  The endless sands of time, and the fact that people, too are tossed about by the wind. There is always rippling in our lives”.

$ 2,500.00
Sale!
Duwyenie, Preston – Traditional Ladle with Silver Inset

This is a traditional ladle or spoon by Preston Duwyenie.  It is made from a red clay found near Hopi.  The entire piece is fully polished. There is an inset piece of silver on the handle. The silver is meant to represent the shifting sands found in the areas around Hopi.  The silver is cast against cuttle-fish bone (a type of squid).  The silver is inset after the firing and there is a design etched on both ends.  The ladle is signed on the back in the clay with Preston’s hallmark which is a woman carrying a child.  Preston is from Third Mesa at Hopi, and taught ceramics for years at Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

$ 275.00 $ 200.00
Duwyenie, Debra & Preston – Tile with 10 Turtles

Debra Duwyenie is well known for her wonderful miniatures and incised designs. Each piece is stone polished and then it is etched before it is fired! This tile is flat with ten turtles.  Each of them has a different design on its back.  Usually, Debra etches one of the turtles to have a “shifting sand” design to represent her husband, Preston Duwyenie.  That one can be seen in the corner.  Surrounding the turtles are lots of dragonflies along with a lizard.  The edge of the tile has a water serpent encircling the piece  and a rain cloud in the corner.  Note that the lighter red matte areas are where Debra has only etched away the polished surface but not down as far as the tan color of the clay. Debra also pays close attention to the little details like the tan background area and how evenly she etches the vertical lines.   The back of the tile is also fully polished.  The piece is signed on the back by both artists.

$ 750.00
Duwyenie, Preston – Shifting Sand Seedpot with Fan Design

Preston Duwyenie is know for his Hopi pottery which blends modern and traditional aspects of the art. This seedpot is made from a red clay which he finds near Second Mesa at Hopi.  The clay fired a tan coloration.  The body of the piece is fully polished.  The top area above the shoulder has the shifting sand design.  What makes the sand area so fascinating is how he carves it so that it has very natural appearance.  It flows around the entire surface, just as if the clay has been swept away. The top view of the piece shows the design nicely and the shadows the design creates.  The lid is made from silver and cast against cuttlefish bone. Preston cut the lid so that it has a stylized fan half-circle or plant shape.  The casting creates a similar style of ‘shifting sand’ design to complement the clay areas!  The the seedpot and the silver lid are signed on the bottom with Preston’s hallmark which is a woman carrying a child and his Hopi name, which means “carried in beauty”.   Preston is from Third Mesa at Hopi, and taught ceramics for years at Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.

Why the shifting sand designs? Preston says he remembers watching a smooth pebble caught in sand being shifted by the wind, “there was beauty in its isolation within the sea of sand. It was like an island.  The endless sands of time, and the fact that people, too are tossed about by the wind. There is always rippling in our lives”.

$ 750.00
Begaye, Nathan – Large Polychrome Jar with Cloud Swirls

Nathan Begaye was a unique innovator among Pueblo and Navajo potters.  His ethnic connection to both Hopi and Navajo let his work flow between the two distinctive styles and yet find their own unique space.  His pottery used traditional designs, forms and techniques, yet somehow appeared very modern.  This large jar by Nathan is coil built and stone polished vertically to create an “onion skin” appearance to the surface.  The jar is then painted with different clay slips of various colors. All his different colors were always natural clays.  The design on this jar takes it inspiration from the ancient Tularosa pottery and their swirl patterns, as well as the cloud designs on Hopi pottery.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

 

 

$ 1,100.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Large Full Arch Mesa Verde Jar

This is a spectacular large piece from Al Qoyawayma.  It is one of his architectural pieces from his “Mesa Verde” series.  The oval area is pushed into the clay and then the building is pushed back out from the inside of the bowl. I have included photos of the process, as I think they are both fascinating and also show the incredible skill and time it takes to make a piece like this happen!  Beyond the technical, this large bowl has a very intricate designed Mesa Verde series of buildings. There are the tall towers in the background, both round, and square. In the front is a fully covered kiva with a ladder and an older kiva with the roof missing.  The front has the rocks sculpted into the clay.  Note how Al etches and then paints all the “bricks” that make up the buildings!  This is one of the largest and most complex architectural pieces we have had from Al in several years.  Al’s architectural pieces are among his most iconic works!

$ 18,000.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Double Lobe Jar with Doorways & A Star

This is a thoughtful piece from Al Qoyawayma.  It is one of his architectural pieces, with the pueblo wall scene carved into the center of the jar. The shape has two lobes and the top and bottom part are vertically polished.  It is the center section which is fascinating with three different pueblo doorways and one window, found in ruins throughout the southwest.  Each of these are carved into the clay and note the detail on the walls.  The color variations are created using various clay slips.  Al says about this piece:

There are four opening shapes….only three are doorways. The “cross” or Star design is that used in weavings, pottery and petroglyphs. One could ask “which star”. Well it is likely more emblematic of many different stars depending on location.  The Polynesians used stars to navigate.  A late 1970’s recreation of the double hulled vessel used to navigate the Pacific is called Hokulea, or the “Star of Gladness”.  I like that metaphor. In Hopi, star is “soohu” and gladness is “háalayi”.  Although Hopi and Polynesian language may have no relation I like that “Ho-ku” and “soo-hu” are phonetically similar and “lea” might sound a little like “-layi”.  No matter.  I worked with and was a friend of Hawaiian artist and historian Herb Kané.  I asked if I could create a piece by that name (and he said yes)….and created a star in the motif. So a “long story” short I have an affinity for a star that brings or gives us gladness or happiness…..and especially the “Star of Bethlehem”.

The three doorways can be found in various ruins in the Southwest.  The “tee-door” is the most recognizable.  It’s possible origin in the americas is a much longer discussion. We don’t have a precise story about the T-door shape….at least I don’t, but I like it. It can be found in other locations around the world. The “trapzodial” shaped door is common throughout the Americas, especially pre-Ican precision stone architecture.  The last polygonal shape is just part of a doorway where the beam above the door has rotted away and the outline created by doorway rock falling away….I saw it in a ruin

Al’s architectural pieces are among his most iconic works!  This one encompasses much of the story of his art!

$ 6,900.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Two Spout Polychrome Stirrup Jar

This stirrup jar by Al Qoyawayma is inspired by historic pieces with a similar handle and wide body. The jar has two spouts and he has carved on both sides of the piece.  The design on one side is a wave pattern, while the other has a prayer feather pattern.   The carved areas are also polished, which is striking with this carving of some of the sections!  The ends are carved with a figure and a sun design.  The colors are derived from various clay slips.  The contrast of carved, polished and matte surfaces works beautifully on this piece.  The various layers of carving allow for him to give additional depth to the piece.

$ 8,500.00
Youvella, Wallace – Seedpot with Deer (1976-9)

This is an intricate miniature by Wallace Youvella, the husband of Iris Nampeyo  It is fully polished red and the design is a wildlife scene with a deer and mountains.  The seedpot was made between 1976-9.  Wallace was one of the first three men at Hopi in the mid-1970’s to begin making pottery (the others were Mark Tahbo and Thomas Polacca).  Interestingly, Thomas and Wallace (who were brothers-in-law) both started with traditional Hopi-Tewa designs but met resistance from the women potters, so began making pieces which were either fully polished and etched, or carved.  This piece is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 175.00
Nampeyo, Nellie – Bowl with Rain and Cloud Design

Nellie Nampeyo Douma was the second daughter of Nampeyo of Hano and a sister of Fannie Nampeyo and Annie Nampeyo.  This small bowl is white slipped and painted with a rain and cloud motif.  The design is repeated around the shoulder of the bowl. The black is bee-weed and the bowl was traditionally fired and it is signed on the bottom, “Nellie Nampeyo”.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 350.00
Begaye, Nathan – Kiva Bowl with Frog in Center

Nathan Begaye was a unique innovator among Pueblo and Navajo potters.  His ethnic connection to both Hopi and Navajo let his style flow between the two distinctive cultures and yet find their own unique space.  His work used traditional designs, forms and techniques, yet somehow appeared very modern.  This is a very unusual and traditional style bowl.  The shape is a “kiva” bowl with the kiva steps on the side.  On the outside they are painted with dragonflies and on the inside with clouds.  The center of the bowl has a traditional frog as the pattern with a cloud design on its head.  The bowl is slipped with a white clay and the painted with natural clay slips and traditionally fired.  It is signed on the bottom with his wave/cloud hallmark.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 750.00
Qoyawayma, Al – Lidded Jar with Mosquito Man Design

This jar is an unusual shape for Al Qoyawayma.  The jar has a base which then extends out to the body of the piece. The entire piece is fully polished tan with one carved area of design. The image is the “mosquito man”, which is seen on Kiva Murals and pre-historic pottery throughout the Southwest.  Note the various levels of carving on this piece from the face of the figure all they way to the stars in the sky. All the various colorations are natural clay slips which are matte and polished.  The lid is another unique shape, which seems to replicate the overall shape of the jar.  It is a stunning piece with a simplicity in form but complexity in the design.

$ 4,500.00
Begaye, Nathan – Melon jar with Birds (1985)

Nathan Begaye was a unique innovator among Pueblo and Navajo potters.  His ethnic connection to both Hopi and Navajo let his work flow between the two distinctive styles and yet find their own unique space.  His work used traditional designs, forms and techniques, yet somehow appeared very modern.  This is an exceptional jar by Nathan Begaye  The shape has a low shoulder and a slightly turned out neck. The shoulder has melon ribs pushed out in the clay.  Below the shoulder is very detailed painted Hopi style birds.  Check out the very intricate checkerboard patterns.  I remember watching Nathan create those patterns and work with the various colors of clay, all of which are natural.  It was fascinating how he knew which ones he could polish and which ones to leave matte. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

 

$ 900.00
Sale!
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.

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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
Qoyawayma, Al – Slipper Jar with Jaguar and Bird Men

Al Qoyawayma calls the shape of this jar his “Slipper” pots.  He explains; “It is a shape that is ubiquitous form in pre-historic pottery in areas from Hopi south to Chile.  The figures on the slipper bowls are formed from actual Teotihuacán (Mexico) pottery stamps.  The stamps are genuine with an estimated age of 0-200 AD. The animal representation may be a jaguar or perhaps other smaller animal.  The other 3 figure relief characters I might guess as “bird men”.  I give these stamps and figures respect because of their antiquity. Also, Teotihuacan was very cosmopolitan city and pyramid complex, and is said to have many cultural enclaves, some possibly with ancestors to the Hopi.  Some linguists believe that the Teotihuacán’s spoke Uto-Aztecan, the root language of Hopi.

The slipper pot (or “shoe pots”) are an ancient ubiquitous phenomena found in Chile with the northern most extent at Hopi (and that is interesting).  Even today the shoe pots are beings made in Mexico. There are similar Hopi forms, many with a curved conical “nose” and were used for cooking…so sometimes the pots are referred to as “culinary shoe pots” (archaeologically speaking). My aunt Polingaysi (Elizabeth White) gave me a full explanation of the construction and use of these shoe pots in the 1970’s. Interestingly the pots showed up in an excavation at the village of Sikyatki by Walter Fewkes in 1895. Sikyatki likely occupied by Keres speaking (Laguna and Acoma) group who are the Coyote Clan. My ancestry is of the Coyote Clan.”

$ 5,800.00
White, Elizabeth  – Mudhead Katsina Clay Figure

Elizabeth White is an aunt of noted potter Al Qoyawayma and taught him to make pottery.  She originated the use of the ear of corn as a design in repousse (pushed out from the inside) on her pottery. Her pottery is all signed in the clay with her Hopi name Polingaysi, which means, “butterfly sitting among the flowers in the breeze”.  This is one of her classic “wind chimes”  It is in the shape of a Mudhead Katsina and made with the red clay from Hopi.  There is a piece of leather that holds the clay tab on the under side of the figure.  It is signed in the clay on the inside of the rim.  Elizabeth made various katsinas figures as “wind chimes” as well as corn maiden figures.  This piece in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  Interestingly, Polingaysi was a school teacher and taught at Hopi and  Navajo schools for almost 40 years.  On retirement from teaching, she became an artist, a poet, and a philosopher.  Her career as a potter was begun late in life, after her retirement, so there is very little of her work available. It is a classic of her work and an important addition to any collection! It is definitely a charming piece of her pottery!

$ 575.00
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