This is a large Zuni olla by Tim Edaakie and Bobby Sila. They created pieces together with Bobby making the pottery and Tim painting the designs. Tim was Zuni while Bobby is Hopi and their pottery was created to envision historic pottery shapes and designs. Sadly, Tim passed away in 2020. This might be one of the largest and most intricately painted of their pieces that I have seen. The jar itself has a classic Zuni form with an indented bottom (to wear on the head) and a slight dip at the shoulder. The rim is thin and slightly turned out. While the jar is striking, it is the painting that is captivating and certainly Tim at his very best. The neck of the jar has Zuni rainbirds and floral motifs. They are accented with thin, red lines. Below the shoulder are two larger sections with a diamond shape in the center. Extending from the shape are cloud designs with intricate patterns. As the jar is turned, there are additional and more elaborate floral designs. Small rainbirds extend out from the center and edges of the imagery. The use of the red and black colorations adds to the dramatic appearance of the designs. Tim created large designs that fill up the space and yet leave open areas to draw the eye back to the intricacies of his painting, not overwhelm the viewer. All the colors are from natural clay slips. They certainly captured the essence of the large Zuni jar and yet, Tim gave it his own spectacular designs. It is signed on the bottom, “T. Edaakie B. Silas, 2014”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.
Tim Edaakie was from Zuni Pueblo.
Edaakie first began making pottery when he was a high school student, and has continued to refine his use of traditional Zuni techniques and materials since. He was passionate about sharing knowledge about pottery within the pueblo and ensuring that knowledge is preserved to be passed onto future generations. One of Edaakie’s goals is to revive certain traditional pottery methods, forms, and designs that are not currently being used in the pueblo—he is particularly interested in the transition between Matsaki and A:shiwi styles.
Edaakie comments: “I see my art as a way to help ensure that traditional Zuni pottery continues, to educate Native and non-Native communities about the process of pottery making, and to explain the designs and forms.” Through the project, he hopes “to reintroduce elaborate designs used by my ancestors to present-day potters who are unaware of these intricate patterns.”
"Keshi! Ho' Tim Edaakie leh'shina, from the Pueblo of Zuni. My maternal clan is Frog and my paternal clan is Coyote. I am 43 years old, and have been a self-employed jeweler for more than 20 years. Even though I explored working with clay during my high school years with my art teacher, Gabe Paloma, I didn't work with it professionally, until 10 years ago. By trial and error, I've been learning how to replicate prehistoric and historic Zuni pottery and designs using traditional natural materials collected on the Zuni reservation: clay, pigments and plants for paints. When weather permits, I also fire traditionally outdoors, using sheep manure and locally-sourced wood for the fire.
"I'm a hiker. As I've explored the land around Zuni, I have discovered numerous prehistoric sites containing potsherds and admired how the ceramic forms of my ancestors evolved to what we see today. By recreating pieces characteristic of various periods, I can demonstrate how Zuni ceramics changed in form and design. I enjoy talking about and sharing the trials and successes of my attempts to create my own pottery, reviving shapes and designs seldom found in the work of other Zuni potters. Each piece becomes a celebration of my cultural heritage and the blessings given to me by my ancestors."