Youngblood, Nancy – Large Asymmetric Swirl Jar (2019)
This is an extraordinary large jar by Nancy Youngblood. The shape is one that has become iconic for her pottery and especially the melon ribs. It has straight sides with just a slight turn in at the neck. The jar is fully carved with swirling melon ribs. Nancy says this style is “not repeatable” as the designs are “free form” created to accentuate the shape fo the jar along with her feelings as she is creating the design. As the jar is turned, there are various styles of melon ribs which extend across the surface. Some are rounded, some sharp. Some are swirling into tightly carved circles. What adds to the overall impact of the piece are the large asymmetric plainware shapes, which are rounded on the sides. They contrast with the edge of the ribs and are so highly polished they have a mirror-like reflection! This is one of those pieces that the photos don’t do it justice as the curvature allows more of the design to be seen in person. Check out the photo of the bottom of the jar as well, which shows the depth of the overall carving! The background area is perfectly sanded and smooth to contrast with the highly polished sections. This is always difficult as the matte areas can cast shadows if they are not smooth. Throughout the entire piece, the angles of her carving create 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.” Nancy Youngblood, Spoken Through Clay
Nancy has won numerous awards, from “Best of Pottery” to “Best of Show” at Santa Fe Indian Market for her melon bowls. This new jar is signed on the bottom in the clay. This is undoubtedly a contemporary classic of her style!