Clashin, Debbie – 18″ Wide Jar with Sikyatkia Birds and Butterfly Wings
This is a rather breathtaking large jar by Debbie Clashin. The jar is 18″ in diameter, coil built and traditionally fired. It is amazing to see pieces at this size by any Hopi-Tewa potter and especially surviving a traditional firing! The jar has a very wide, round shoulder and a short neck. There is a small turned out rim. However, it is not just the size but the painted design which is so dynamic. There are two sections with large Sikyatki style birds. This style of the bird was seen on Sikyatki pottery of the 1300-1600 period. Nampeyo of Hano was not just a revivalist of the Sikyatki wares, but an innovative painter who created her own versions of these designs. Much like a modern art painting, the bird is graphically portrayed in sections that are reassembled into a whole. Debbie has taken this style of bird and painted it with bee-weed (black) and two red clay slips. Each bird is surrounded by small flowers. Separating the large bird panels are two sections with butterfly wings. Each section has two butterflies painted next to each other. Their wings are highlighted with cross-hatch designs and larger wing sections. Interestingly, Debbie painted an additional mountain design below the shoulder. This band has a repetitive design but the use of the two red clays for the mountains is creative. Of course, one of the most noticeable aspects of this piece is the firing. Bold blushes of color are on the surface and highlight the painted designs. Debbie learned to fire her pottery from her cousin, Mark Tahbo, who was masterful at firing pottery to achieve strong colorations. There is little that isn’t dynamic on this jar from the size to painting and firing. The last photo is of Debbie holding the jar for scale. Yes, it is that big! It is signed on the bottom with her name and a pipe for his “Tobacco Clan”.