Naha, Helen “Feather Woman” – Bowl with Awatovi Star Design (1970’s)
This is a classic bowl by Helen Naha, also known as “Feather Woman”. She created distinctive pottery using the white clay slip throughout her career. The designs were all painted using bee-weed (black) and natural clay slips. She learned to make pottery from her mother-in-law, Paqua Naha yet had her own style in form, imagery, and composition. Helen is known for her revival of the pre-historic Awatovi pottery. Awatovi is one of the ruins near Hopi where a white slipped style of pottery was made. It is a fascinating place as it was where Coronado made contact with the Hopi in 1540. During the excavations in the 1930s, the whiteware pottery was rediscovered. It was the imagery from his work which inspired much of Helen’s early pottery, as opposed the more classic Sikyatki inspired pottery of Nampeyo. This bowl has the “Awatovi Star” pattern painted on the top and bottom. There is an “eternity band” around the shoulder. The inside of the bowl is also polished, which Helen tried to do on most of her pottery when she could reach her hand inside. The bowl has been traditionally fired and there is some variation to the color from the firing, which certainly adds to the beauty of the piece. The bowl is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. It is signed on the bottom with her hallmark feather.