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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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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.

$ 950.00
Cling, Alice –  Tall Jar with Relief Cloud Design

This jar by Alice Cling is a very classic Navajo shape with the high shoulder and the elongated neck.  The jar has a raised “braid” encircling the piece.  It is incised with cloud designs.  It is an interesting addition to her pottery and certainly adds a”jewel-like” feel to the shoulder of the piece.  There is one small “gap” in the design, which is the “spirit line”.  The jar is traditionally fired and there are beautiful colorations from deep black to dark 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.”  She remains one of the great names in the revival of Navajo pottery in the 1980’s

$ 450.00
Begay, Jr., Harrison – Jar with Bear and Yei Figure (1999)

Harrison Begay, Jr. has won numerous awards over the years for his deep carved pottery.  This jar is from 1999.  It is a classic shape with a high shoulder and short neck. The jar deeply carved and there is an amazing amount of design on the surface.  Around the top of the shoulder, there is a star pattern (polished) with matte carved rain designs.  Around the side of the jar, there is a bear and Yei figure along with cloud, rain, hand and other designs.  They are each deeply polished and carved. An unusual addition to the design is the incised imagery.  Take a closer look at the matte areas of the jar and they are fully designed with incised lines to create cloud, swirls, star and other designs!  The polished sections stand out more in contrast to 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.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 1,200.00
Crank, Susie – Water Jar with Fire Clouds

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 water jar is an elegant shape with a sharp shoulder and short neck.  The jar is stone polished and even the inside of the neck is polished to the shoulder!  The jar is then traditionally fired to create the fire-clouds 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 waterproof.  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”.

$ 175.00
Williams, Lorraine – Bowl with Rug Star Design

This is a traditional jar by Lorriane Williams.  It is a round bowl and there are bands of star designs etched into the surface.  The style of the stars are similar to those seen on Navajo rugs.  The bowl is traditionally fired to create the coloration to the surface.  After the piece is fired 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”.

$ 90.00
Cling, Alice –  Small Wide Jar with Square Neck

This small jar by Alice Cling has a low, round shoulder and an elongated neck.  It is the shape of the neck which 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.”

$ 120.00
Manygoats, Elizabeth – Jar with Navajo Scene

Elizabeth Manygoats is a daughter of noted potter Betty Manygoats.  She is known for her folk-art style pottery with figures in relief or applique on the surface. Elizabeth says that she often emphasizes Navajo women and their daily lives in her work because “They’re the ones I look up to.”  This jar is very thin walled and has a flat shoulder and straight neck.  There is a lot going on around the jar and it is both clever and charming. There is a Navajo girl reading a book.  Behind her is a subtle mesa and she is surrounded by a chicken and sheep (in relief).  As the jar is turned, there is horse applique figure which is tied to a tree with a string.  There is then a row of corn, clouds, and a small wagon.  Finally, there is a classic Navajo hogan and sitting out front is a dog.  The various colors are added to highlight the imagery.  The jar is traditionally fired to create the variations in color to the clay surface.  After the firing the entire piece is covered in pine pitch in the manner of traditional Navajo pottery.  The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “EM.”  Elizabeth has won numerous awards for her pottery over the years.  It can also be found in museums throughout the southwest.

Why the horned lizard?  “In the Diné culture Horned Toad is addressed as “grandpa” (shicheii). It possesses spiritual power. When you see one, pick it up and rub it on your chest and say, “I will be in good health and harmony.” If you have corn pollen sprinkle it as an offering and then let the horned lizard loose where you found it. You will then have good health and harmony. It is believed that the horned toad is dressed with an armored shield, which is called arrowhead. The spiky horns on the body represent the arrowheads. This protects the horned toad from predators. It was placed on earth with songs and prayers so that in the future the Diné would utilize it. The Diné still know and use its sacred prayers and songs for protection.”  Traditional Dine Teachings on Wildlife (1998)

$ 200.00
McHorse, Christine -Lidded Bowl with Buffalo & Wolf (1993)

Christine McHorse is well known for her sculptural pottery.  Each piece is coil built and has very thin walls.  This lidded bowl is from 1993.  The bowl itself is very thin walled.  There is a triangular mountain design which is very lightly etched into the clay around the shoulder.  Note the very thin lines!  The lid has a wold and buffalo as a sculpture.  The area around the animals is also etched with very fine lines.  The piece was traditionally fired to create the coloration and then it was covered in pine pitch, which is typical of traditional Navajo pottery.   There is a simplicity to the form and yet a complexity to the animals and the designs.  The bowl received a Blue Ribbon (1st Place) at the 1993 Museum of Northern Arizona Navajo Show. The ribbon is signed by Jack Beasley.  The piece is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. Both the lid and the bowl are signed on the bottom in the clay.   Today Christine is creating more sculptural works with her pottery currently in the “Dark Light” exhibit which has traveled nationally.

$ 3,900.00
Begay, Jr., Harrison – Canteen with Bear Paws

Harrison Begay, Jr. has won numerous awards over the years for his deep carved pottery.  This canteen is from 2003.  It is fully polished and carved with a cloud, star and bear paw design on the top.  The handles are also fully polished.  The piece is fired a black-brown coloration.   The polished sections stand out more in contrast to 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.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 1,200.00
Sahmie, Ida – “Male Yei” Tile

This is a very traditionally inspired tile by Ida Sahmie.  It is “Male Yei”, which is a design often seen in sandpaintings and rugs.  “Yei” (pronounced “yay”) is the Navajo name for the benevolent supernatural beings who bring their healing power to medicinal ceremonies still performed today.   Here, Ida has painted it on a stone polished tile using natural clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black. The Male Yei figure has detailed clothing even jewelry.  The step design surrounding the figure is a cloud pattern.  The face is etched and then painted with a white clay.  The tile was traditionally fired and it is signed on the back, “Ida Sahmie”.  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.

$ 220.00
Sahmie, Ida – “Female Yei” Tile

This is a very traditionally inspired tile by Ida Sahmie.  It is “Female Yei”, which is a design often seen in sandpaintings and rugs.  “Yei” (pronounced “yay”) is the Navajo name for the benevolent supernatural beings who bring their healing power to medicinal ceremonies still performed today.   Here, Ida has painted it on a stone polished tile using natural clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black. The female Yei figure has detailed clothing even jewelry.  The step design surrounding the figure is a cloud pattern.  The face is etched and then painted with a white clay.  The tile was traditionally fired and it is signed on the back, “Ida Sahmie”.  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.

$ 220.00
Sahmie, Ida – “Four Sacred Plants” Tile

This is a very traditionally inspired tile by Ida Sahmie.  It is “The Four Sacred Plants”, which is a design often seen in sandpaintings.  Here, Ida has painted it on a stone polished tile using natural clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black.  The four sacred plants are corn, beans, squash and tobacco.  There are both painted and matte areas along with incised designs.   The tile was traditionally fired and it is signed on the back, “Ida Sahmie”.  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.   The story of the Four Sacred Plants and the Dine people is as follows:

“Four Sacred Plants are assigned to the cardinal points, and amongst the Navajos Maize is the plant of the North, Beans of the east. This means that both are male and as both are grown for edible seeds, recognition of the physiological function of the male was probably involved in the selection. This is entirely possible since the convention could have been established only very late, after settlement in America. Squash, for the Navajos, is the plant of the South, which is fitting since its fruit is called “eight-sided” and the eight-sided earth (an alternative to the square earth, taking account of the diagonal directions) is female. Also the stalk is angled in sections, a feature deliberately exaggerated when the plant is depicted in sand paintings, and crooked things are female. Tobacco, which the Navajos put on the west, is female because it is used to make smoke which is blown out with the breath, and that is female. Below the Plants are white roots, the significance being that these plants still have their roots in the lower world.”

 

$ 220.00
Sahmie, Ida – “Mother Earth & Father Sky” Tile

This is a very traditionally inspired tile by Ida Sahmie.  It is “Mother Earth and Father Sky”, which is a design often seen in sandpaintings.  Here, Ida has painted it on a stone polished tile using natural clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black.  Mother Earth is in the center with the four sacred plants on the left of the figure.  On the right is Father Sky with the stars and sun.  The face is etched, as are the sides of the tile in the center area.  The tile was traditionally fired and it is signed on the back, “Ida Sahmie”.  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.   The story of Father Sky and Mother Earth, and the Dine people is as follows:

“The Navajo people, the Diné, passed through three different worlds before emerging into this world, The Fourth World, or Glittering World. The Diné believe there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The Holy People are believed to have the power to aid or harm the Earth People. Since Earth People of the Diné are an integral part of the universe, they must do everything they can to maintain harmony or balance on Mother Earth.  It is believed that centuries ago the Holy People taught the Diné how to live the right way and to conduct their many acts of everyday life. They were taught to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky and the many other elements such as man, animals, plants, and insects.”

$ 220.00
Manygoats, Betty –  Wedding Vase with 15 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 15 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.

Why the horned lizard?  “In the Diné culture Horned Toad is addressed as “grandpa” (shicheii). It possesses spiritual power. When you see one, pick it up and rub it on your chest and say, “I will be in good health and harmony.” If you have corn pollen sprinkle it as an offering and then let the horned lizard loose where you found it. You will then have good health and harmony. It is believed that the horned toad is dressed with an armored shield, which is called arrowhead. The spiky horns on the body represent the arrowheads. This protects the horned toad from predators. It was placed on earth with songs and prayers so that in the future the Diné would utilize it. The Diné still know and use its sacred prayers and songs for protection.”  Traditional Dine Teachings on Wildlife (1998)

$ 145.00
Williams, Lorraine – Square Neck Jar with Rug Pattern

This is a traditional jar by Lorraine Williams.  It is a long neck and a low shoulder.  The neck of the jar is square.  The surface of the piece is incised with rug designs which encompass the entire surface. The background area is textured which further highlights the designs.  It is a striking and complicated pattern.  The jar has been traditionally fired to create the surface coloration.   After the piece is fired 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”.

$ 350.00
Cling, Alice – Tall Corn Husk Side Jar

This a striking 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 around the neck and striated corn husk designs down the size.  This tall jar is a very traditional Navajo shape with the elongated shape. The design is very subtle but is the coloration of the firing which is so dynamic!  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 the 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.”

$ 600.00
Crank, Susie – Water Jar with Fire Clouds

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 water jar has a round body and an elongated neck.  It is an elegant shape which Susie has highly polished and even the inside of the neck is polished almost to the shoulder!  The jar is then traditionally fired to create the fire-clouds 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 waterproof.  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”.

$ 325.00
Manygoats, Betty –  Open Bowl with 18 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 is one of her classic open bowls with the horned lizards on the inside.  There are 18 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.

Why the horned lizard?  “In the Diné culture Horned Toad is addressed as “grandpa” (shicheii). It possesses spiritual power. When you see one, pick it up and rub it on your chest and say, “I will be in good health and harmony.” If you have corn pollen sprinkle it as an offering and then let the horned lizard loose where you found it. You will then have good health and harmony. It is believed that the horned toad is dressed with an armored shield, which is called arrowhead. The spiky horns on the body represent the arrowheads. This protects the horned toad from predators. It was placed on earth with songs and prayers so that in the future the Diné would utilize it. The Diné still know and use its sacred prayers and songs for protection.”  Traditional Dine Teachings on Wildlife (1998)

$ 125.00
Williams, Lorraine – Bowl with Setting Sun and Star Designs

This is a traditional bowl by Lorriane Williams.  It is a round shape and there are three bands of designs.  The top band is a setting sun, the center is clouds and the bottom are stars.  The designs are all incised into the clay.  The various colors are painted onto the surface of the bowl before it is fired.  The bowl has been traditionally fired.  After the piece is fired 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”.

$ 90.00
Cling, Alice –  Small Jar with Square Opening

This jar by Alice Cling has a high, round shoulder and square neck. The sides of the neck have 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.”

$ 115.00
Nez, Wallace – Sgraffito Seedpot with Butterflies

Wallace Nez is known for his intricately etched pottery.  He began to make pottery when he was 12 years old.  He won first place ribbons at the Santa Fe Indian Market in 1999, 2000, and 2001 and Best of Division at the Museum of Northern Arizona Market Show in 1999.  This miniature seedpot is incredibly intricate for the size!  There are three butterflies on one section and the remainder is etched with feather and star patterns.  Take a look at the top and check out the variety of the designs.  It is all so intricately and delicately designed, it is quite extraordinary!  The piece is signed on the bottom “Wallace Nez”.

$ 325.00
Manymules, Samuel  – Jar with Rounded Swirl Melon Ribs

This  jar by Samuel Manymules has a tall shape with a slight neck.  The melon ribs swirl down from the neck to the base.  The ribs are pushed out in the clay and there is a deep groove separating each rib.  The jar is traditionally fired and the coloration is striking!   The symmetry of each rib adds to the overall appearance of the jar.  The variation from black to red to brown give the piece a sense of motion on the surface.  The browner areas are where it was fired to a higher temperature.  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.

$ 1,800.00
Begay, Jr., Harrison – Jar with Two Eagles

Harrison Begay, Jr. has won numerous awards over the years for his deep carved pottery.  This round jar is fully carved with two eagles.  One eagle is in flight. The other eagle is perched and overlooking a sunrise.  The eagle is flight is depicted over water with cloud designs.  The jar is perfectly polished to 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.

$ 1,500.00
Cling, Alice –  9″ Tall Jar with Square Neck

This tall jar by Alice Cling has her classic shape with the high shoulder.  The neck is square in contrast to the rounded shoulder.  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 pinon-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
Begay, Jr., Harrison – Jar with Raven

Harrison Begay, Jr. has won numerous awards over the years for his deep carved pottery.  This taller jar is fully designed with ravens.  This is one of the first times we have seen him use ravens as the imagery on his pottery.  One is in flight and the other two are standing.  They are surrounded by lightning and cloud designs.  The jar is highly polished and fired a deep black.  The polished sections stand out more in contrast to 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.

$ 1,500.00
Manymules, Samuel  – Large Jar with Vertical Melon Ribs

This large jar by Samuel Manymules has a round shape which is accentuated by the vertical melon ribs.  The jar itself is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The jar has a stone polished neck which comes to a sharp edge. Below the shoulder the melon ribs are pushed out in the clay and extend to the base of the jar.  The symmetry of each rib adds to the overall appearance of the jar.  It was traditionally fired outdoors and that has created the coloration on the surface.  The jar has areas which range from black to red and brown.  The browner areas are where it was fired to a higher temperature.  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.

$ 2,800.00
Sahmie, Ida – “Mother Earth & Father Sky” Bowl

This is a very traditionally inspired bowl by Ida Sahmie.  It is “Father Sky” on one side and “Mother Earth” on the other.  They are designs which are often seen in sandpaintings.  Here, Ida has painted them on a stone polished bowl using natural clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black.  Father Sky is in the center with the cosmos painted on the body.  Surrounding the figure is a rainbow design.  Mother Earth is in the center with the four sacred plants and other imagery painted on the polished red surface.  The face is etched and the figure is surrounded by a rainbow pattern.  The designs are all etched and painted onto the clay surface.  The bowl was traditionally fired and it is signed on the bottom, “Ida Sahmie” and it is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  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.   The story of Father Sky and Mother Earth, and the Dine people is as follows:

“The Navajo people, the Diné, passed through three different worlds before emerging into this world, The Fourth World, or Glittering World. The Diné believe there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The Holy People are believed to have the power to aid or harm the Earth People. Since Earth People of the Diné are an integral part of the universe, they must do everything they can to maintain harmony or balance on Mother Earth.  It is believed that centuries ago the Holy People taught the Diné how to live the right way and to conduct their many acts of everyday life. They were taught to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky and the many other elements such as man, animals, plants, and insects.”

$ 650.00
Begay, Daniel – Large Jar with Swirling Yei Figures

This is the largest jar we have had 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 has a more distinctive storage jar shape with the rounded sides.  The design has two Yei figures which are intricately carved into the clay.  The bodies of the Yei figures swirl around the sections of the jar and they are separated by cloud, water, earth and rain designs.  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.

$ 2,000.00
Sahmie, Ida – “Day Chant” Jar with Ribbon (2012)

This is an exceptional jar by Ida Sahmie.  It is the Day Chant Dance with 15 male and female Yei-bi-chi dancers encircling the jar.  The top half of the jar is polished while the bottom half is matte.  The background area is the polished 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 base of the bowl.  Ida also etches into the clay for the faces and the bodies, leather, and masks of each dancer. The bottom of the jar is painted with a step cloud design, which is also used on Navajo wedding baskets.  The rim is polished red and painted with a mountain line and a spirit line break in the pattern. The jar is thin-walled and traditionally fired.  Ida is a daughter-in-law of Priscilla Nampeyo and she 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”.  This jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It also has a First Place ribbon from the 2012 Navajo Nation Fair.

$ 1,500.00
McHorse, Christine -Asymmetric Bowl with Lightning Rim

Christine McHorse is well known for her sculptural pottery.  Each piece is coil built and have very thin walls.  This bowl is a classic of her traditional mica style.  It is very thin walled and on the rim there is a carved section with a lighting band.  The jar is a micaceous clay and vertically polished.  There is a simplicity to the jar and yet it is certainly striking among her traditional style.  Christine said of her Navajo pottery,

“I didn’t really have any idea about Navajo pottery. When I started making pottery, I also started researching it in books and museums. The Navajo pottery that was written about, they were called “mud pots.” It had not developed to the sophisticated level of Pueblo pottery. The term “mud pots” affected me to the point that I thought, I’m going to have to show them some Navajo pottery. My first time at Indian Market was in 1983. At first, I entered my work in the Taos style category of pottery.  Then I started incising burnished surfaces and applied piñon pitch. I did as much as I could with materials that a Navajo potter would use. So I started out doing the Taos style, then doing the Navajo style, eventually exploring other methods which led to contemporary forms.” Christine McHorse, Spoken Through Clay

Today she is creating more sculptural works with her pottery as in the recent “Dark Light” exhibit.  This jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom.

$ 2,200.00
Spencer, Lorenzo – Bowl with Bird Designs & Square Opening

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
Manymules, Samuel  – Tall Jar with Impressed Rug Design

This is striking tall jar by Samuel Manymules.  It is coil built and slipped with a red clay and then traditionally fired.  The jar has angular designs inspired by Navajo Crystal Rug designs (see last image).  Typical of Samuel’s pottery, the designs are not carved into the clay, nor are they applique.  Each row is pushed out in the clay to create the various layers of angles!  It is technically very difficult but the result is striking and gives the jar added dimension.  Samuel had tried this style on a smaller scale but on this jar it has four rows of rug designs! Looking inside the jar you can even see how they are pushed out int he clay.  The entire jar is polished and it is traditionally fired outdoors.  The coloration, which ranges from red to black to brown, where the fire was the hottest!  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.

$ 2,500.00
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
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 – 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
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
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.

$ 975.00
Sale!
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 $ 1,500.00
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
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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