Lucas, Steve – Water Jar with Hummingbirds and Rain Clouds
WOW! This is a striking 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. This jar has a round shoulder and a short neck. The neck is fully polished red. The body of the jar has large hummingbirds. They are painted in black with polished white, red, and brown areas. They are a complex series of designs making up the body of the hummingbird and note how he perfectly placed in on the shoulder of the jar. Separating them are rainclouds. The black is highlighted with polished white, red, and green areas. It’s an intricate design and the additional color works perfectly. In addition to the black bee-weed, there are four additional colors of clay used on this jar! The piece was traditionally fired and has an elegant 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). Creative and delicate design on 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