Tahbo, Mark – Jar with Awatovi Style Bird (1995)
Mark Tahbo was renown for his creative pottery shapes, designs, and firings. He learned to make pottery from his great-grandmother, Grace Chapella. Each piece reflects the symmetry and thin walls of an excellent potter. The designs are painted using native clay slips and bee-weed (a plant) for the black. This jar is coil built and has very thin walls. It was fully polished and then painted. The jar has four panels of designs. One is a stylized bird based on imagery from Awatovi (near Hopi). The other sections are a variety of cloud, rain and snow patterns. Note how he used both a red and a burgundy clay slip for the coloration. Interestingly, if you reach inside the jar, you can feel how Mark polished all the way on the inside to the shoulder. I remember he would talk about that as a surprise in his work that you couldn’t see it but could feel the polish inside. The jar was traditionally fired, which created the striking blushes on the surface for which Mark was famous. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Mark Tahbo”. It was made in 1995. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.