Youngblood, Nancy – Red and Tan Bowl with Shell Designs (2007)

2.5"w x 2.25"h

$ 4,000.00

This is a very detailed carved bowl by Nancy Youngblood.  The bowl is coil-built and then carved and stone polished.  There are four large shells on the bowl  Two are spiral shells that are polished tan.  The other two are shells that are polished a deep red.  The remainder of the bowl is highly sanded and matte with a “suede leather”-like feel to the surface!   Why shells? Nancy began carving them on her pottery after a trip to the Caribbean in the 1980s.  While it may seem an “exotic” addition to the pottery, shells were frequently traded in pre-contact times and even today are worn by the dancers during traditional Pueblo ceremonies.  When Nancy carves the shells the “ridges” are each rounded, just like on her melon bowl!  They are very time involved and create their own, “ribs”. The shells each have 13 ribs that are rounded out.  The piece was traditionally fired to create the deep, rich coloration to the polished and matte areas.  It is signed on the bottom, “Nancy Youngblood”, 2007.   It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  Nancy has won numerous awards for her melon bowls, and this is undoubtedly a creative use of her melon rib style!

“The shell, I first started doing that around 1980. I had seen shells when I went to the Caribbean and I thought that they would look
spectacular if I could carve and polish them. For the tan color, instead of using a clay slip on the piece we wet it with water and then polish the dampened clay. It can be harder to polish and, unless every rib is perfectly smooth with no indentations, it shows every imperfection. You fire it the way you would a red piece. Instead of covering it up with the manure, you pull the wood off and let it cool down slowly. You want to get that deep buckskin color.” Nancy Youngblood, Spoken Through Clay