Duwyenie, Preston – Wide Shifting Sand Jar with 3 Silver Insets
This is a striking jar by Preston Duwyenie. He is known for his Hopi pottery which blends modern and traditional aspects of the art. This wide bowl is made from white clay that he finds near Second Mesa at Hopi. The shape has a wide shoulder and an asymmetric opening. The area above the shoulder is where he has carved the shifting sand pattern. There are three panels of the shifting sand design. The depth of the shifting sand creates subtle shadows in the clay. What makes the “sand” area so fascinating is how Preston carves it so that it has a very natural appearance. Separating each of the three panels are rectangular sections, each with a single inset piece of silver. The silver inserts are cast from cuttle-fish bone (a type of squid). The casting creates a similar style of ‘shifting sand’ design to complement the clay areas! The thin walls of the bowl, the organic feel of the shifting sand, and the strength of the silver insets are elegant on this piece. The piece is signed on the bottom with Preston’s hallmark which is a woman carrying a child which is his Hopi name, meaning “carried in beauty”. Preston is from Third Mesa at Hopi, and taught ceramics for years at the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe.
Why the shifting sand designs? Preston says he remembers watching a smooth pebble caught in sand being shifted by the wind, “there was beauty in its isolation within the sea of sand. It was like an island. The endless sands of time, and the fact that people, too are tossed about by the wind. There is always rippling in our lives”.