Artist Media Series
WOW! This is a striking and classic 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 round shape and a sloping neck. It is VERY thin-walled and painted with bee-weed (black) and polished red, white, and dark brown polished areas. Steve is one of the only traditional Hopi-Tewa potters to use this deep brown coloration. The jar is painted with Steve’s version of the classic Migration pattern. There are eleven bird wings above the shoulder and eleven below. This is the first time I’ve ever had one of his migration design pieces and it is exceptional! Between the bird wings, are polished brown, white, and red areas with a checkerboard pattern. 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