Youngblood, Nancy – 32 Swirl Rib Mellon (2019)
This is an iconic swirl ribbed melon bowl by Nancy Youngblood. The bowl is coil built and each rib is deeply carved into the clay. The depth of the carving and the symmetry of each rib is exceptional. This is certainly one of the enduring aspects of her incredible artistry. The bowl itself such a round shape that the angle of the ribs is more pronounced. Each rib is polished with a stone to achieve the shine. The bowl is new, from 2019 and each rib is sharp on the edge. This is much more time consuming and difficult than if they are rounded. The sharp edges easily chip during the carving and polishing stages. It is fascinating how she carves the pieces so that the light reflects against the inside edge of the swirl. The always seem in motion. Nancy said of this style of her carving:
“It’s more challenging to make a more pointed shaped shoulder than a simple rounded bowl. You have to flip them over when you are polishing and holding them at an angle. It’s not just one surface to polish but each side of every rib. They are all hard to do. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.” Nancy Youngblood, Spoken Through Clay
As you consider that each rib has two sides and how much surface area there is for this piece! The ribs are also very deeply carved into the clay and almost come to a point at the edge! Check out the image looking down on the bowl to see the depth and symmetry of this piece. Nancy says she can only polish three ribs in one sitting as they are so time-consuming. The bowl is signed on the bottom, “Nancy Youngblood”.