Lucas, Steve – “Nampeyo Tribute” Jar
9'w x 7.5"h
This is a multi-color new 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. The jar is a round shape that shows off the design. The imagery is inspired by the work of Nampeyo of Hano (see last photo). Each section is very detailed and complex in design. In addition to the black painted areas, there is a polished brown and two different reds. Steve said if was the first time he used the brownish-red (no mica) on one of his pieces. The design is repeated in four panels and it is a deconstructed bird pattern. The rim and base of the jar are fully polished red. The complexity of the design and the multiple clay colors gives the jar an impressive appearance. The jar is traditionally fired so there are light blushes on the surface. The last photo is of Steve holding the piece. The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “S. Lucas” and a mudhead (koyemsi) and an ear of corn (corn clan).
Steve said of the deep red clay slip he uses on his pottery:
“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