Lucas, Steve – Large Bowl with Rain, Birds, and Mountain Designs
This is a multi-color new bowl 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. Steve said this was a new design for his pottery. The top band is a prayer for rain over the mountains (the triangles). The larger section is a series of bird wings and bird tails. They are separated by additional mountain and cloud designs. Birds, clouds, and mountains are also all associated with prayers and katsinas. Not only is it painted with bee-weed (black), but there are polished red, brown, and white areas! Steve is the one who introduced the micaceous red clay slip to Hopi-Tewa pottery. He is also one of the few who use this brown coloration. The bowl was traditionally fired which created the blushes on the surface. There are a few darker areas near the base. The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “S. Lucas” and a mudhead (koyemsi) and an ear of corn (corn clan). The complexity of design on the round shape gives the pieces an intensity in appearance.
“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 color clay slip and I decided to experiment 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