Lucas, Steve – Wide Four Hummingbirds Jar
9"w x 5"h
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. The jar is a classic Hopi-Tewa shape with a wide shoulder. The top is painted with four hummingbirds. They are painted with bee-weed (black) and highlighted with red and brown clay slips which are also stone polished. The rim of the jar is polished with red clay with just a bit of mica. Around the shoulder are four small plant designs, each with small polished red flowers. What is interesting in this bowl is the bottom, which is carved and textured. Steve said he wanted to give it a textural feel, but also as if it was a birds nest you were holding in your hands! It is slipped with red clay. Looking at the bottom it does almost have the appearance of a bird’s nest! The jar is traditionally fired so there are light blushes on the surface. The last two photos are of Steve firing the bowl (before and in the firing). There is also a photo 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