Lewis, Ivan – Mermaid and Starfish Clay Figure (1980s)
Ivan Lewis was a son of noted potter Lucy M. Lewis of Acoma Pueblo. He was married to Rita Banada Lewis of Cochiti Pueblo. Together they started making bowls and animal figurines around 1971 and storyteller figurines around 1973. Ivan learned to make pottery from Rita, so all his work was done in a Cochiti style. It was not until around the 1980s that he began to make figures. He was famous for his mermaids. This mermaid is coil-built and painted with bee-weed and clay slips. The piece is charming in style with a starfish on her lap and shells in her hair. There is a great sense of movement to the tail! The piece was traditionally fired. It is signed, “Ivan Lewis” on the bottom. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.
Ivan Lewis said of his mermaids:
“I used to talk to the mermaids at Cochiti Lake. THey would come out around midnight. I”m the only one who knows where they are.” Ivan Lewis, Fourteen Families/Clay Mirror