Artist Media Series
This wide bowl by Dextra Quotskuyva was made in 1983. Dextra is certainly one of the great innovators among Hopi-Tewa potters. Her work began with more classic imagery and then has evolved over the years to more unique and stylized designs. The bowl is unusual for several reasons. It has a white clay slip on the bottom. The top is polished red and there is a bird wing pattern. What is creative about this piece is the bird wings are painted with bee-weed (black) and then the lines are incised (etched) into the clay! I asked Steve Lucas about it and he said he didn’t remember her making many pieces with incised linear designs. However, Dextra was always one for innovation! The bowl was traditionally fired so that there are blushes and color variations around the surface. It is signed on the bottom with bee-weed, “Detra” with a corn plant for the corn clan. ar of corn representing the Corn Clan. The bowl is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. Dextra has been the subject of a retrospective of her pottery at the Wheelwright Museum called, “Painted Perfection“.
Dextra said of her early pottery:
“I was watching my mom (Rachel Nampeyo) all the time, and I was picking up everything she was doing. I found my own polishing stones. I would collect clays. My mother didn’t like it when I did different types of designs. She was different in her ideas. My mother, she went so far as to say that whatever our great-grandmother had reproduced from old designs—those were important designs. We’re supposed to have the basics, she’d say. The big six. Don’t part from that. The six traditional designs. One of them is the migration design, the eagle feather design, the hummingbird design, the horned lizard, the moth design, and parrots. Those are the ones that started with Lesso and Nampeyo. The designs are mainly from Sikyatki people—it was their pottery that was dug out when they were excavating. They were beautiful designs they had used quite a bit.” Dextra Quotskuyva, Spoken Through Clay