McKelvey, Lucy Leuppe – “Mother Earth and Father Sky” Canteen
Lucy Leupp McKelvey (b. 1950) was raised by her great-grandparents and other older relatives near Sheep Springs, Arizona. She began making pottery in 1973. She uses native clays and traditional clays and pigments (hematite, bee-weed, etc) for her pottery. They are fired outdoors using oak. Her designs are inspired by traditional sandpainting and rug designs. This canteen is coil built and painted before firing. The design is “Mother Earth and Father Sky”. The story of this design is as follows:
“The Navajo people, the Diné, passed through three different worlds before emerging into this world, The Fourth World, or Glittering World. The Diné believes there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The Holy People are believed to have the power to aid or harm the Earth People. Since Earth People of the Diné are an integral part of the universe, they must do everything they can to maintain harmony or balance on Mother Earth. It is believed that centuries ago the Holy People taught the Diné how to live the right way and to conduct their many acts of everyday life. They were taught to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the many other elements such as man, animals, plants, and insects.”
The canteen is fully painted on the front. The handles are carved and the mouth of the piece has a step design. The piece is signed on the back, ‘Lucy Leuppe McKelvey”. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.
Lucy says of her pottery:
“I am mostly a self-taught potter who has spent the last 44 years trying to make the art of Navajo pottery evolve up into a fine art form that goes beyond tradition but still uses traditional native materials and methods. I am known for making very large, polychrome pots in a great variety of shapes that are painted with almost outrageous detail. Most of my work tells a story and contains design elements from the ancients, ceremonial sandpaintings, baskets, and rugs that have been stylized by my own imagination and inspiration.” Lucy McKelvey