Youngblood, Nancy – 16 Rib “S” Swirl Tall Jar with Lid (2018)
This is an extraordinary larger jar by Nancy Youngblood. The shape is one which has become iconic for her pottery and especially the melon ribs. The straight sides show off all the curves for the “s” swirl. Amazingly, there are SIX times the ribs go back and forth on this jar! These are the wide ribs but are carved at an angle with a sharp edge which creates a strong surface for the reflection of light. Nancy said of this style of her work:
“I’ve had problems that if I carve it too thin, it will break. I’ve had that happen so many times. I get to the end and I’m carving the single ribs and it has an air pocket in it. You wet it with slip and then when you touch it, with the first stroke of the stone, the clay falls off. There’s nothing you can do. It’s a loss. See here how the S is carved so deeply that the light plays off it so that it almost glows.” Nancy Youngblood, Spoken Through Clay
Each of the 16 ribs perfectly reflects the light. Added to the complexity of the jar is the lid. The ribs not only extend down the side, but over the top and down onto the base of the lid! There is a kinetic motion to them on this piece which may simply be the play of the light adding to the highly polished surface. Thee matte area on the top of the lid is perfectly sanded smooth. This is important so there are no shadows cast from an uneven surface. In addition to the depth of carving on this jar, consider that each rib has two “sides”to be polished and the surface area of the piece is about double its size! The lid and jar are signed on the bottom in the clay. Nancy has won numerous awards, from “Best of Pottery” to “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market for her melon bowls. This is undoubtedly a classic of her clay art!
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