Lucas, Steve – “Thunderbirds” Jar
8.5"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 high shoulders and a sloping neck. The design on the top is a bird wing pattern. On the sides are four thunderbirds. They alternate between male and female thunderbirds. Separating each of them is a star. The birds are very detailed in design and note the polished red and brown areas. The base of the jar is fully polished red. The entire piece is dramatically designed and flows from top to bottom. It is traditionally fired so there are exceptional 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