Naha, Helen “Feather Woman – Butterfly Maiden Clay Plaque (1970’s)
This is a very unusual painted piece by Helen Naha. She created distinctive pottery using the white kaolin 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. This piece is a plate or plaque but designed so that it could be hung. It is curved backward and there is a Butterfly Maiden or Palik Mana painted as the design. The painting of the katsina is exceptional and note all the detail in the feathers and evergreens on top of her head! The feathers extending out from the tablita are painted in the style of the feathers from her hallmark. The plaque is signed on the back with her hallmark “feather”. It is really wonderful to note her attention to the little details and even the variation in color from the firing! The plaque is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. Definitely one an unusual and important piece by this great Hopi-Tewa potter!