Folwell, Susan & Les Namingha – “Corn Maiden: Earth Mother” Jar
Susan Folwell (Santa Clara )and Les Namingha (Hopi-Tewa/Zuni) collaborated together for the first time on a series of vessels in a show entitled “Corn:Maiden:Cultures” in 2015. The concept for the exhibition was that the Corn Maiden in Pueblo culture can also be found as a primal female archetype in cultures throughout the world. There is play back and forth on these vessels as the multi-cultural figures are placed within a Pueblo context as the “Corn Maiden”, who brings the corn, the harvest and life. This jar has been in an exhibit at the Museum of Indian Art and Culture since 2016.
This large jar was made by Les. The designs painted by Susan on two sides show a Hopi maiden and a Pueblo maiden. Her idea was to leave the faces empty, so that they did not represent just one person, but all women. The two women represent the Pueblo and Hopi ancestry of Les and Susan. Playing from Susan’s more realistic portrayals, Les painted a more modern version of the women on the other two sides. The angular shape of this vessel, made from Zuni clay, is unusual but also perfect for this important imagery. In many ways, this powerful jar brings together the ideas of womanhood, femininity, modernism and the continuing importance of the Corn Maiden concept in Pueblo culture. The dark brown background works perfectly for this intense jar. Check out more of their exceptional collaborative pottery in the book, “Spoken Through Clay”.