Christopher Youngblood creates intricately carved vessels that reflect a perfect balance of matte and polished surfaces with intricately carved designs. This jar is very deeply carved with eight melon ribs. Each rib is very deeply carved into the clay and they extend from the rim to the base. The ribs swirl back and forth and have a sharp edge and polished to a glassy shine. The interior of the jar is also carved with eight ‘raindrops”. When a jar has a fluted rim, it is historically called a “raindrop” rim. Chris has taken this historic name literally and added raindrops to the interior of the rim! Not only are they carved but rounded out so that they stand out and then are fully polished. The surrounding area is matte. The entire piece requires skill to carve and polish at various angles and create such strong symmetry. The jar is fired a deep red coloration which contrasts with the matte surfaces. As well, firing a piece red always takes more time and risk. However, it is certainly worth it when the pieces turn out with such strong coloration. It is signed on the bottom, ‘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 2014 “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.
Chris has said of his pottery:
“I’ve had generations of people before me who have had to learn the hard way. I’ve had that information given to me without having to go through all the struggles. But, I would say on the flip side, having someone so technically advanced as your teacher (Nancy Youngblood), let alone your mother, it’s hard. The expectations are a lot higher. I’ve learned that now, I never think it’s done. I keep going until I cannot find anything I can refine or add to the piece. To achieve an ever-higher level of precision takes a lifetime. ’s not something you learn, it’s something you live.” Christopher Youngblood, Spoken Through Clay
Chris Youngblood is a great-grandson of Margaret Tafoya and a son of Nancy Youngblood. His mother, Nancy, taught him to make pottery. He has won the “Best of Class – Youth Award” at Santa Fe Indian Market and the prestigious “Best of Pottery” in 2014. In the 2010 Native People’s Magazine, he was featured as one of the “Generation Next Emerging Potters” and recently featured in Native Art Magazine in 2016 as one of the “Three Potters Under 30” to watch. His “Best of Pottery” jar was featured in the book “Spoken Through Clay.”
Chris Youngblood says that he focuses on each piece, taking the time to work on the shape and stone polish the surface to a high shine, often polishing it several times to get it right. Chris comes to the clay focused on expanding the technical and artistic boundaries of his illustrious family. His manipulation of the clay surface through his technically inspired imagery expands the art in new directions.