Youngblood, Christopher – Red 16 Rib “S” Swirl Melon Jar
Christopher Youngblood creates intricately carved vessels that reflect a perfect balance of matte and polished surfaces with intricately carved designs. This is an exceptional melon jar with very deeply carved ribs. They swirl from the rim to the base creating an “S” design. The angle of the carving creates more of a dynamic appearance to the reflection of the light on the highly polished surface. Chris said of his melon rib pieces:
“They are hard to carve and get each rib symmetrical. The polishing is the key. I will polish three ribs at a time, the leave a space. In the end, I’ll go back and polish the single ribs. This is the greatest chance for error as you can mess up the surrounding ribs that are already finished. I think the melon rib pieces appear very modern. I design them thinking about how the light will reflect across the surface. The best part of the melon, when done correctly, is you get a reflection from every angle across the surface.”
Think that each rib is polishing on both sides so even a small bowl has twice the polished area! The piece is fully polished and traditionally fired red. Did you know that it is more time-consuming to both polish and fire red pottery? The potter has to take more care with firing a red piece as if overfired it gets a “washed out” color, and it can also show burns from ash or soot. This jar has an exceptional overall even coloration. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Chris Youngblood”. I’m pleased that I have been working with Chris since 2010 when I wrote the first article on him for Native People’s magazine. It is exciting to see how his work has progressed over the years and the awards for his pottery, including the 2104 “Best of Pottery” at Santa Fe Indian Market. He was featured in the book, Spoken Through Clay, and continues to be one of the leading young potters working today.