This is a striking new 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 is painted above the shoulder with four eagle tail designs. They extend down from the neck to the shoulder. Separating them are the bird heads. There are additional polished red and brown clay slips used without the jar. It takes more time to polish the slips after they are painted, but the result is also more dynamic as they reflect the light. Steve said of these designs:
“I think about the ancients. I used to hike out to Sikyatki a lot when I stayed out at my mom’s place and look at the pottery sherds. You could pick up a sherd, wipe it off, and the design would still be brilliant. I would be amazed at how well the painting had held up to all the weather over all those centuries. I would find some interesting designs, and I would put them on my pieces. Those ancients were good artists and are an inspiration to me.” Steve Lucas, Spoken Through Clay
Below the shoulder, Steve has painted a series of polychrome rain and cloud patterns. Again, they are highlighted with the polished clay sections in red and brown. Near the base, the entire piece is fully polished a deep red. This definitely adds to the overall dynamic appearance of this piece. The numerous colors and the precision of the painting is a bit breathtaking on this piece. The jar was traditionally fired which created the blushes on the surface. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “S. Lucas” and a mudhead (koyemsi) and an ear of corn (corn clan). Spectacular!
Steve Lucas is a great-great-grandson of Nampeyo of Hano. His grandmother was Rachel Nampeyo and his great-grandmother was Annie Healing. While Steve grew up around potter he primarily learned the art from his aunt, Dextra Quotskuyva Nampeyo. His pottery is amazingly thin-walled, and each piece has a dynamic use of form and design. The pottery is coil built, stone polished, painted and traditionally fired. Steve uses not only traditional designs but often gives his own creative "spin" to the ancient imagery. His pottery is signed with his name and the Mudhead symbol, or Koyemsi. This is reflective of his Hopi-Tewa clan. Steve has won numerous awards for his pottery, including "Best of Show" at Santa Fe Indian Market. We are pleased to carry his works at both our Scottsdale and Santa Fe locations. Steve is featured artist in the recent book by our gallery owner Charles S. King, 'Spoken Through Clay".