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navajo potteryNavajo Pottery

Each piece of our Navajo Pottery (Dine) is hand coil built, stone polished and traditionally fired outdoors. The color variations on the surface of the pieces are a result of the firing process showing fire and smoke coloration.  This process adds a specific personality, dimension, and beauty to each work.  For many of the pieces of pottery, the surface is covered with pine pitch, a pine sap derivative, at the end of the firing to give a deep color and sheen.  This pitch pottery treatment was a traditional method for sealing the pottery to hold water or keep the pottery from deterioration. Many traditional Navajo potters continue this process today using a variety of material in the completion of the bowl.   We see very defined shapes, reflecting the historical style of traditional bowls, but we also see asymmetry in the aspect of design shape giving a fluid nature to the fire patterns.

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Williams, Lorraine – Storage Jar with Eight Yei Figures

This is an exceptional large storage jar by Lorraine Williams.  While she no longer makes pieces this size, the shape and scale of this piece is striking!  The jar has  a rounded base and straight sides.  The shoulder is very sharp and comes across flat to the neck. Technically, this is amazing how she was able to achieve just a flat surface!  On the sides are eight Yei figures and each is different in design.  Above them is a rug pattern and a mountain pattern on the flat shoulder.  There is also a flag design.  The jar has been traditionally fired, which creates the variations in color. Interestingly, these large pieces are fired upside down!  After the firing, it is covered in pine pitch, which is typical of all traditional Navajo pottery harkening back to when it was utilitarian.  Lorraine has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “A Legacy of Generations”.  The jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “LW”.   

$ 1,400.00
Sahmie, Ida – Miniature “Night Chant” Bowl

This miniature by Ida Sahmie has incredible detail, as one might expect from a great minature in pottery!   It is the Night Chant Dance with eight male Yei-bi-chi dancers encircling the jar.  The background area is fully painted with bee-weed (a plant) to make it black.  In the background, there are the mesas and a fire in the “center”.  This is her attempt to create a “3D” story on the vessel!  Ida also incises into the clay for the faces and the bodies, leather, and masks.  She is a daughter-in-law of Priscilla Nampeyo and Ida continues to make beautifully formed pottery with wonderfully complex designs.  She has won numerous awards for her pottery at events such as Santa Fe Indian Market.  She is the only Navajo potter creating this unique style of ethnographic pottery.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Ida Sahmie”.

$ 250.00
Cling, Alice –  Jar with Low Shoulder and Square Neck

This jar by Alice Cling has a water jar shape with a round shoulder and square neck. The sides of the neck has been squared off so that it is flat on the sides.  The jar is then traditionally fired to create the coloration.  Note how the fireclouds swirl around the jar creating areas of dark black to deep red.  The jar was covered in pine-pitch after the firing, a continuation of the traditional Navajo pottery when pitch was used to make the pottery waterproof.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Alice Cling”.  Alice has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “Legacy of Generations.”

$ 165.00
Cling, Alice –  Jar with Elongated Neck

This taller jar by Alice Cling has an elongated shape with a longer neck.  The jar has been vertically polished so you can see the stone marks in the polished surface.  The jar is then traditionally fired to create the coloration.  Note how the fireclouds swirl around the jar creating areas of dark black to deep red.  The jar was covered in pine-pitch after the firing, a continuation of the traditional Navajo pottery when pitch was used to make the pottery waterproof.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Alice Cling”.  Alice has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “Legacy of Generations.”

$ 180.00
Crank, Susie – Jar with Slanting Shoulder

Susie Crank is a daughter of Rose Williams and a sister of Alice Cling.  Each piece is coil built, stone polished and amazingly, she says he may burnish a piece over and over as many as 15 times to get a high shine!  This jar has a high shoulder and a rather sloping neck.  The result of this shape is that the light reflects gently off the various surface angles! The jar is highly polished and then traditionally fired to create the fireclouds on the surface.  The colorations on this jar range from black to a deep red.  The jar was covered in pine-pitch after the firing, a continuation of the traditional Navajo pottery when pitch was used to make the pottery water proof.  Today, the pine pitch seals the vessel and gives it the shine.  This jar has a stunning shine and a great feel to the surface!  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Susie Crank”.

$ 275.00
Cling, Alice – Large Round Shoulder Jar

This is larger round shoulder jar by Alice Cling.  The shape is elegant with the straight walls leading up to the rounded shoulder and then the opening.  The jar is vertically polished, which adds a dimension to the coloration in the firing.  The jar is polished a deep red and then outdoor fired.  The colors range from a dark black to a deep red and swirls in between. The jar was covered in pine-pitch after the firing, a continuation of the traditional Navajo pottery when pine pitch was used to make the pottery waterproof. Alice has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “Legacy of Generations.”

$ 475.00
Manymules, Samuel  – Large Bowl with Flat Melon Ribs

This large bowl by Samuel Manymules.  It is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The melon ribs on the bowl are pushed out from the inside of the clay. On this piece, the ribs begin right at the  mouth of the piece and extend in a swirl to the base.  There are 12 ribs and they are widely spaced and the separating is a sharp edge.  The coloration from the firing ranges from tan to black to red.  Samuel said that the areas which turn tan are the ones where it reached the highest temperatures in the firing.   It is how Samuel places the jar in the firing and the smoke which determine how the colors will range from black to red.  The color changes as the jar is turned but in the photos you get a good sense of the color variations.  After the firing the jar is the covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 2,250.00
Cling, Alice –  Jar with Fireclouds

This jar by Alice Cling has a high shoulder and an elongated neck.  The jar is fully polished and then traditionally fired to create the coloration.  Note how the fireclouds swirl around the jar creating areas of dark black to deep red. They are exceptionally fluid on this jar.  The jar was covered in pine-pitch after the firing, a continuation of the traditional Navajo pottery when pitch was used to make the pottery waterproof.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Alice Cling”.  Alice has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “Legacy of Generations.”reating areas of dark black to deep red.  The jar was covered in pine-pitch after the firing, a continuation of the traditional Navajo pottery when pitch was used to make the pottery waterproof.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Alice Cling”.  Alice has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “Legacy of Generations.”

$ 175.00
Manymules, Samuel  –  Jar with Wide Faceted Ribs

This jar by Samuel Manymules is an unusual shape for his pottery.  It is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The jar has a somewhat square mouth and four ribs which swirl from the neck to the base.  They are pushed out from the inside to create the sharp “edge” but the area separating them is flat.  This turns out to be a striking form as the flat sections have fired to deep colorations from brown black to deep red.  The entire jar is fully polished and traditionally fired to create the coloration.  It is how Samuel places the jar in the firing and the smoke which determine how the colors will range from black to red.  Interestingly, Samuel said that the areas which are tan are the ones which were fired the hottest! The color changes as the jar is turned but in the photos you get a good sense of the color variations.  After the firing the jar is the covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 1,500.00
Manymules, Samuel  – Small Sharp Melon Rib Swirl Jar

This is a distinctive shape by Samuel Manymules in a smaller form.  It is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The jar neck which is fully polished.  Right at the edge of the neck the jar begins the sharp melon ridges.  Each of the ten ribs is pushed out in the clay.  The are very sharp edged and swirl down to the base. The entire jar is fully polished and traditionally fired to create the coloration.  It is how Samuel places the jar in the firing and the smoke which determine how the colors will range from black to red.  The color changes as the jar is turned.  After the firing the jar is the covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 900.00
Cling, Alice – Tall Jar with Incised Cloud & Mountain Designs

This a  tall jar by Alice Cling.  Alice Cling is one of the great names in the revival of Navajo pottery in the 1980’s. This jar is coil built, stone polished and traditionally fired.  This tall jar is a very traditional Navajo shape with the elongated shape and very straight sides.  The design on the rim is etched into the clay and it is an alternating triangular cloud and mountain design.  The design is very subtle and the coloration from the firing which is especially strong on this piece.  The colors on this jar swirl and range from black to a deep red.  The jar was covered in pine-pitch after the firing, a continuation of the traditional Navajo pottery when pitch was used to make the pottery waterproof.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Alice Cling”.  Alice has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “Legacy of Generations.”

$ 575.00
Spencer, Lorenzo – Bowl with Bird Designs

Lorenzo Spencer is one of the few Navajo males potters.  He learned to make pottery from his mother-in-law, Rose Williams.  This bowl is coil built and stone polished.  The design of a bird is etched into the clay. Notice the precision of the design and there is a wonderful texture to the stippled area around the birds.  The bowl itself has a square opening and it has been traditionally fired.  After the firing it was covered in pine pitch, in the manner of historic Navajo pottery.  The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “LS”.

$ 150.00
Sahmie, Ida – “Day Chant” Tile

This is an exceptionally complex tile by Ida Sahmie.  It is the Day Chant Dance with seven male Yei-bi-chi dancers in a line.  They are painted with natural clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black.    The background area is fully polished the natural color of the clay.  In the background, there are the mesas, clouds, and even birds!  Note how she has also painted the shadows of each dancer extending to the bottom of the tile.  Ida also incises into the clay for the faces and the bodies, leather and masks.  She is a daughter-in-law of Priscilla Nampeyo and Ida continues to make beautifully formed pottery with wonderfully complex designs.  She has won numerous awards for her pottery at events such as Santa Fe Indian Market.  She is the only Navajo potter creating this unique style of ethnographic pottery.  It is signed on the back in the clay, “Ida Sahmie”.

$ 220.00
Sahmie, Ida – “Night Chant” Tile

This is an amazingly complex tile by Ida Sahmie.  It is the Night Chant Dance with seven male Yei-bi-chi dancers in a row.  The background area is fully painted with bee-weed (a plant) to make it black.  In the background there are the mesas and a fire in the “center”.  This is her attempt to create a “3D” story on the tile!  Ida also incises into the clay for the faces and the bodies, leather, and masks.  She is a daughter-in-law of Priscilla Nampeyo and Ida continues to make beautifully formed pottery with wonderfully complex designs.  She has won numerous awards for her pottery at events such as Santa Fe Indian Market.  She is the only Navajo potter creating this unique style of ethnographic pottery.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Ida Sahmie”.  It is traditionally fired and painted with natural clay slips and bee-weed (the black).

$ 220.00
Williams, Lorraine – Large Storage Jar with Eight Yei Figures

This is an exceptional very large storage jar by Lorraine Williams.  While she no longer makes pieces this size, the shape and scale of this piece is exceptional!  The jar has flat sides and a sharp shoulder leading up to the neck.  The sides are incised with eight Yei figures.  They are then painted with clay slips. The shoulder has an additional Yei figure which encircles the piece. The neck has a basket design and there is an additional mountain design above and below the Yei figures.  The jar has been traditionally fired, which creates the variations in color. Interestingly, these large pieces are fired upside down!  After the firing, it is covered in pine pitch, which is typical of all traditional Navajo pottery harkening back to when it was utilitarian.  Lorraine has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “A Legacy of Generations”.  The jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “LW”.    It is not often that we see such important piece of her pottery come back onto the market at this size, but it is definitely an extraordinary jar!

$ 1,800.00
Williams, Lorraine – Long Neck Jar with Yei Figures & Rug Designs

This is a classic long neck jar by Lorraine Williams.  She married George Williams in 1977.  George is the son of Rose Williams, one of the best-known Navajo potters. Lorraine was adept at making beads and sand paintings, and she was a weaver. “But when I married George I saw pottery with new eyes.” Her new eyes led to Lorraine’s beginning with clay about 1980. Ultimately, Lorraine would make the largest pots produced at Navajo today.  This tall jar is fully designed with a rug pattern on two of the sides and Yei figures on the other two sides.  The various colors are added to the piece before the firing.  The jar is traditionally fired and then after the firing, it is covered in pine pitch, which is typical of all traditional Navajo pottery harkening back to when it was utilitarian.  Lorraine has won numerous awards for her pottery and been featured in books such as “A Legacy of Generations”.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “LW”.

$ 350.00
Manygoats, Betty –  Wedding Vase with 17 Horned Lizards

Betty Manygoats is known for distinctive Dine (Navajo) pottery with it’s “folk art” feel to the designs.  Around 1978 she began using the horned lizard as a design on her pottery.  The scales on the lizards are created using a bobby pin!  This wedding vase is her own signature shape with the high spouts. There are 17 horned lizards, each one seeming to scale the sides of the vessel!  The piece has been traditionally fired and there are some beautiful color variations from the heat of the fire!  After the vase is fired, it is covered in pine pitch in the manner of traditional Navajo pottery.  The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “BM.”  Betty has won numerous awards for her pottery over the years.  It can also be found in museums throughout the southwest.

$ 145.00
Begay, Jr., Harrison – Jar with Eagle Family

Harrison Begay, Jr. has won numerous awards over the years for his deep carved pottery.  This round jar is fully carved with an eagle family.  There are two eagles in flight and two baby eaglets in a tree.  Surrounding the birds are cloud and wind designs.  Note the complexity of the tree branches, which provided wonderful depth to the overall story of the jar.  The firing on this piece is exceptional with a silvery appearance to the surface which contrasts with the black matte areas.  Note as well the style of carving, which has a beveled appearance to the angle of the cuts into the clay. This is a very distinctive style of carving for his pottery.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 850.00
Begay, Daniel – Square Jar with Yei Figures & Stars

This is a striking square shaped jar by Daniel Begay. He learned to make pottery from his father, Harrison Begay, Jr..  Each piece is coil built, carved, stone polished and traditionally fired.  Daniel has created a distinctive style of carving, similar to that of his father, yet with more angular and graphic designs. This jar is carved with two different stylized Yei figures.  The figures are each carved in a spiral with the mask and feather and blanket.  Separating each of the figures are large and small star patterns.  The stars certainly take ones mind not just to the celestial nature fo the Yei figures, but also their use in Navajo weavings.  There is a striking contrast between the polished and matte surfaces, which adds to the sophistication of the imagery. Note how Daniel’s designs combine both thin and thicker lines to enhance the imagery.  The style of carving has a beveled appearance to the angle of the cuts into the clay.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 1,400.00
House, Conrad – Modern Fetish Bowl and Prayer Sticks (1988)

This is an exceptional piece by multi-media artist Conrad House (1956-2001).  Much like me, you might be familiar with the name “Conrad House”, but not necessarily award of his art.  He was Dine/Oneida and his work was significant in redefining Indian art, utilizing many art mediums to preserve symbols and images of his culture and world cultures. His works are in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Portland Art Museum, Wheelwright Museum, Heard Museum, Navajo Nation Museum and numerous museums and galleries around the world.  In 2002, the Heard Museum Guild created the “Conrad House Award for the Most Innovative Artist. Winners of the Conrad House Award include Marilou Schultz, Travis Emerson, D. Y. Begay, Polly Rose Folwell, Barbara Teller Ornelas, Marvin Oliver, Pat Pruitt, Jason Garcia, Warren Coriz, Melissa S. Cody, Orlando Dugi, Ryan Lee Smith, Susan Folwell, Berdine Begay, Shan Goshorn, ShoSho Esquiro, and Marlowe Katoney.  In 2006, the University of New Mexico’s Art Museum held a retrospective of his art entitled, “A Life in Balance: The Art of Conrad House”.

This set is what Conrad referred to as a “Sacred Toy”. It is a contemporary version of the historic Zuni Fetish bowl and reflects his “obsession with the duality of daily life”.  Here the jar is made from clay the surface is a metallic glaze, which almost looks like glass.  The fetishes around the outsides are all badgers, except for the one light blue one, which is a pick up truck.  The side of the jar has a hole for “feeding the fetishes”.  Inside the jar is a clay “x” instead of the more traditional cornmeal, which reflects Conrad’s desire to create an “innovative sacred vessel for the future”.  The two prayer sticks are also glazed and each has a bear fetish attached to the stick.  There are tabs on each of the two prayer sticks, which are painted like pottery shards, which are signed and dated, as part of the set.  There is certainly the mixture of the traditional and the modern in this work.  The set is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. It was purchased directly from the artist and the more detailed information about the piece itself comes from his sister.

$ 4,000.00
Begay, Jr., Harrison – Brown Jar with Bears

While living at Santa Clara Pueblo, Harrison Begay, Jr. learned to make Santa Clara style carved and polished pottery.  This jar is deeply carved with heartline bears on both sides.  They are connected with cloud swirls above them an plant designs below.  The neck of the jar is also fully polished.  The designs are either polished or matte, which Harrison alternates to accentuate his imagery. Note as well the style of carving, which has a beveled appearance to the angle of the cuts into the clay. This is a very distinctive style of carving for his pottery.  This jar has been fired brown, so there are some striking color variations as the piece is turned.  The interesting part about the brown firings is that they always feel close in color to the traditional Navajo pottery, which is also brown.  Harrison has won numerous awards for his work and continues to be one of the leading innovators in Native American Indian pottery.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 750.00
Begay, Daniel – Tall Jar with Bears and Geometrics

Daniel Begay learned to make pottery from his father, Harrison Begay, Jr..  Each piece is coil built, carved, stone polished and traditionally fired.  Daniel has created a distinctive style of carving, similar to that of his father, yet with more angular and graphic designs. This jar is carved with two bears, one on each side.  Below the bears are a stylized rain cloud design.  Separating them are a triangular “heartline” design on each side.  One section is polished, the other is matte.  The matte areas are always difficult as if they are not sanded enough they appear rough in the shadows.  The style of carving has a beveled appearance to the angle of the cuts into the clay.  The jar is very highly polished so that there is a strong visual distinction between the matte and polished surface.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 700.00
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
Sahmie, Ida – Water Jar with Corn & Wedding Baskets (1996)

Ida Sahmie is known for her modernist Navajo pottery using bee-weed to paint, etching the surface and utilizing native clay from the Navajo Nation.  This water jar has a round shoulder and a slightly turned out neck. The piece is fully polished and painted with bee-weed (black) and natural clay slips.  Around the rim of the jar are mountain designs along with rain lines.  The shoulder and neck of the jar are incised with corn plants.  Each plant is then painted in four different colors representing the Four Directions.  Separating each of the corn plants is a Navajo wedding basket.  Each basket is also etched into the clay and then painted.  The jar is traditionally fired near her home. There are very light blushes on the surface.   Ida is a daughter-in-law of Priscilla Nampeyo.  She has won numerous awards for her pottery at events such as Santa Fe Indian Market.  She is the only Navajo potter creating this unique style of ethnographic pottery.  It is signed on the bottom.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 800.00
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
Manymules, Samuel  – Low Shoulder Jar with Sharp Ribs

This is a classic water jar by Samuel Manymules.  It is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The jar neck which is fully polished.  The lower section has melon ribs which are pushed out into the clay.  The ribs are wide and sharp, narrowing down from the shoulder to the base.  There is an indented ridge where the neck ends and the melon ribs begin.  The entire jar is fully polished and traditionally fired to create the coloration.  It is how Samuel places the jar in the firing and the smoke which determine how the colors will range from black to red.  The color changes as the jar is turned.  After the firing the jar is the covered with pine pitch in the traditional way expected of Navajo pottery.  It is extraordinary vessels like this which keep Samuel among the top Navajo potters working today.

$ 875.00
Williams, Rose & Susie Crank – Very Large Jar with Mountain Design Rim

Rose Williams (1915-2015) wass one of the great matriarchs of Navajo pottery.  Shew as from the Shonto/Cow Springs area of the Navajo Reservation.  Rose was an adult when she learned to make pottery, but continued doing so for over three decades.  Her children, Alice Cling, Sue Ann Williams, and Susie Williams Crank, and her daughter-in-law, Lorraine Williams, are all recognized potters.  The Lók’aa’dine’é Clan (Reed People) in the Shonto/Cow Springs area has long been recognized for its pottery making, and many of the present-day potters or their spouses—Silas Claw, Faye Tso, Rose Williams, and Alice Cling—are members of this clan.  This is an exceptionally large piece of her pottery in collaboration with her daughter, Susie Willams Crank.  It is fully polished and traditionally fired.  The shape is based on traditional Navajo pottery with the low shoulder.  Around the rim is a raised relief mountain design. The jar is traditionally fired and afterwords covered in pine pitch.  This was a traditional method historically to make the pottery water-proof. Today, potters continue this process as a testament to the past. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay by both potters.

$ 1,750.00
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
McHorse, Christine -Large Gourd Jar with Lightning Rim

This jar is certainly one of those shapes for which Christine McHorse has become renown. It is an organic shaped gourd jar made from micaceous clay.  The rim of the jar has been carved into a lightning pattern and the edge of the rim is raised with a single coil.  The jar has been traditionally fired to create the fire clouds and blushes on the surface. The coloration which is coppery in color, shows all the variations from the flame.  After the firing it has been covered in pine pitch, much as traditional Navajo pottery has been made for the last century.   The jar is perfectly smooth and thin walled.  It is a classic of her pottery, in form and style.  There is always such a delicate nature to her pottery!  There is a simplicity to the jar and yet it is certainly striking among her traditional style.  Today she is creating more sculptural works with her pottery currently in the “Dark Light” exhibit which is travelling nationally.  This jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 3,600.00
McHorse, Joel — “Hindsight” Bowl with Lid

This bowl is made of micaceous clay and reduction fired.  The lid fits perfectly and it is surmounted by silver finial which Joel has made.  Amazingly, he is as much a jeweler as a potter and an architect!  This bowl is called, “Hindsight” and the shape of the silver piece captures the name perfectly!  The silver piece is made from the lost wax method in which he carves out the shape in wax and then casts it in silver.  It is attached using padded screws so that it will not damage the clay.  The shape and motion of the silver work creates a very organic appearance in combination with the simplicity and sparkle of the black fired micaceous clay.  Joel’s pottery can be found in museums such as the IAIA Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts/Peabody Essex and the Heard Museum.  His work is unique and timely and definitely a potter to watch!

$ 3,200.00
McHorse, Joel — “Symphony” Mica Bowl w/ Silver Lid

This bowl is made of micaceous clay and reduction fired.  The lid fits perfectly and it is surmounted by silver finial which Joel has made.  Amazingly, he is as much a jeweler as a potter and an architect!  This bowl is called, “Symphony” and the finial for the lid is silver and made from the lost wax method.  The silver is attached to the lid using padded screws so that it will not damage the clay.  The shape and motion of the silver work creates a dynamic sense of motion especially in combination with the simplicity and sparkle of the black fired micaceous clay.  Joel’s pottery can be found in museums such as the IAIA Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts/Peabody Essex and the Heard Museum.  His work is unique and timely and definitely a potter to watch!

$ 8,800.00
McHorse, Joel — “Deconstruction” Mica Bowl w/ Silver Lid

This bowl by Joel McHorse is made of micaceous clay and reduction fired.  The lid fits perfectly and it is surmounted by silver finial which Joel has made.  Amazingly, he is as much a jeweler as a potter and an architect!  This bowl is called, “Deconstruction” and the finial for the lid is silver and made from the lost wax method.  The silver is attached to the lid using padded screws so that it will not damage the clay.  The lid on this piece is oxidized sterling silver with a textured feel.  The shape brings to mind traditional handles on lidded clay pots.  Joel’s pottery can be found in museums such as the IAIA Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts/Peabody Essex and the Heard Museum.  His work is unique and timely and definitely a potter to watch!

$ 3,800.00
McHorse, Joel — “Silver Flower” Lidded Jar

Joel learned to make pottery from his mother, Christine McHorse.  His early work was a combination of traditional Navajo shapes and incised designs along this his own distinctive silver work that he used an finials on the lids. This is a classic jar with a perfectly fit lid made from micaceous clay and reduction fired.  The silver pieces for the lid are created using the lost wax method of casting. There are three vertical infinity symbols which are soldered together to create the flower design.  It is a brilliant use of various designs to create a new form!  The petal/flower motif as well works in balance with the shape of the jar  and the coloration from the firing.  There is an architectural appearance to them and a somewhat art-deco feel in their connection to the vessel itself.  Not surprisingly Joel is as much an architect as a potter.  He took nearly a decade away from the clay to become an architect.  Joel said of his early work, “The successes of form and composition that I see in my pottery I try to utilized in my architecture.”  The opposite could be said today as the success of his architectural career have created a new direction in his work in the clay and especially in silver.

$ 3,600.00
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