Artist Media Series
Christine McHorse was well known for her sculptural pottery. Each piece is coil-built and has very thin walls. This tall water jar has a classic Navajo Drum Jar shape. The jar is thin-walled and around the neck, there is a double corn design in raised relief. The designs extend around the neck of the jar and have the appearance of jewelry or small conchos on a belt! Check out the small detail and the incised lines in the background. Exceptional! The jar was traditionally fired to create striking blushes on the surface. The exterior was then covered in pinon-pitch after the firing, in a traditional Navajo style. It is signed on the bottom of the plate, “C McHorse”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.
“I grew up in Morenci, Arizona, and in the summers I’d go to the Navajo Reservation and stay with my grandmother. My siblings and I would herd sheep for her during the summer. In all that time, I only remember once seeing her use clay pottery. I said that I have this beautiful clay, and I could make a little bowl for her. When I did, she treasured it and used it. I didn’t really have any idea about Navajo pottery. When I started making pottery, I also started researching it in books and museums. The Navajo pottery that was written about, was called “mud pots.” It had not developed to the sophisticated level of Pueblo pottery. The term “mud pots” affected me to the point that I thought, I’m going to have to show them some Navajo pottery. My first time at Indian Market was in 1983. At first, I entered my work in the Taos-style category of pottery. Later I made corrugated pottery and mastered that well enough. Then I started incising burnished surfaces and applied piñon pitch. I did as much as I could with materials that a Navajo potter would use. So I started out doing the Taos style, then doing the Navajo style, eventually exploring other methods which led to contemporary forms.’ Christine McHorse, “Spoken Through Clay”.