Shupla, Helen – Large Wedding Vase with Carved Avanyu (1970s)
Helen Shupla is certainly most famous for her exceptional melon jars. However, she is also known for her creative carved vessels. This tall wedding vase is coil-built and carved with a water serpent encircling the piece. Helen’s water serpent design is distinctive with the tail extending over the head of the avanyu where they cross. The creativity of her carved designs primarily comes from Kenneth Shupla, Helen’s husband. He was from Hopi and he carved all of her pottery! As a result, the carved pieces by Helen often combines both Hopi and Santa Clara pueblo aesthetics and designs. The wedding is from the 1970s and it is highly polished and fired a deep black. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Helen Santa Clara Pueblo”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.