Artist Media Series
Chase “Kawinhut” Earles is one of the few Caddo potters working today. The Caddo were a tribal group throughout the Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisianna areas. Chase draws inspiration from the ancient Caddo pieces and yet they are not replicas. The connection in the ancient work is in the clay, firing, and shapes. He is primarily self-taught both as a potter and in his research of the Caddo ceramic past. This gar is made from non-native clay and fired and smoked to get the coloration. It is etched with wave designs on the top. It is signed on the bottom “Kawinhut”. The name “Kawinhut” is important, as the last Caddo potter, Winhut, passed away in 1908 and Chase is continuing in her tradition of working with the clay and so his name is a masculine derivation of this family name.
Chase says of this piece:
“The Caddo would often create effigies (sculptures of animals or figures) in honor of entities that were around them in their life environment. The alligator snapping turtle, one of the largest turtles in the world, can weigh up to 200 lbs and can bite a broom handle clean in half. They live in the bottom of swampy rivers, ponds, and lakes. I am working to both preserve and expand the cultural identity of the Caddo people through the revival of their pottery.” Chase Kawinhut Earles