Lucas, Steve – 12″ Wide Eagle Tail Design Jar
WOW! This is a complex large jar by Steve Lucas. He is one of the leading Hopi-Tewa potters working today. Each piece is coil-built, stone polished, painted with native clay slips and bee-weed (black), and traditionally fired. Steve has won “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market, and his work remains some of the most refined and creative. This jar has a wide shoulder and a slightly sloping top. The shape of the jar is inspired by the ancient Sikyatki pottery with a wide shoulder and flat top. The jar is tightly painted with bee-weed (black) and highlighted with polished black, white and red clay. The design is a series of four eagle tail patterns. Each is multi-layered as the design extends down to the shoulder. Each section has at least sixteen polished sections in addition to the painted ones. Steve has taken the time to polish EACH section separately. As well, he is one of the few potters using dark brown colored clay, which gives the pieces added depth in color. Steve is one of the few Hopi-Tewa potters using so many colors in his work. The piece was traditionally fired and has a dramatic coloration from the firing. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “S. Lucas” and a mudhead (koyemsi) and an ear of corn (corn clan). It is an innovative design in a classic form.
“When I first learned to make pottery, the red slip painted in the designs was difficult to work with. It wouldn’t take heat very well and would scorch and turn black. The red was also difficult to polish. My aunt Dextra had a deep red clay slip, so I experimented with it. I took some of our base clay and added the red to it, and it polished very well. I then decided to put some mica in there to get that sparkle. That’s where the new red came from, and Dextra liked how it turned out. I introduced them to that. It was nice that for my teacher, Dextra, I was able to share and teach her something.” Steve Lucas, Spoken Through Clay