Begaye, Nathan – Polychrome Bowl with Checkerboard and Feather Designs (1997)

6.25"w x 2.5"h

$ 1,350.00

This is a striking polychrome bowl by Nathan Begaye.  He was a unique innovator among Pueblo and Navajo potters.  His ethnic connection to both Hopi and Navajo let his clay art flow between the two distinctive styles and yet find its own unique space.  His work used traditional designs, forms, and techniques, yet somehow appeared very modern.  This bowl is a classic Hopi-Tewa shape with a wide shoulder. The entire surface is polished white.  It was then painted with bee-weed (black) and various clay slips.  Each of the four different clay colors was stone polished onto the surface of the piece.  Take a closer look, the tiny squares are each individually slipped, then stone polished one at a time!  I remember going to Nathan’s apartment when he lived in Phoenix and watching him work on painting his pottery.  He would talk about each of the colors and some were more difficult to source than others. The purple and blues, I remember, were the most difficult to find.  This amazing piece has all his complex colors, including purple!  The designs remind one of a Sikyatki bowl, but in a modern context.  Simply Nahtan at his best!  The bowl Was traditionally fired to create the blushes on the surface.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  It is signed on the bottom, “Nathan Begaye”.  It is from 1997.  The last photo is a picture I took of Nathan when he was living in Phoenix.  He moved there for several years and I would go to his apartment and see what he was working on and hear the stories about his pottery, the clays, and his firings.