Youngblood, Nancy – Small 16 Rib “S” Swirl Melon Bowl (1984)
Nancy Youngblood is renowned for her deeply carved and highly polished pottery. This is a classic deep carved “s” swirl melon bowl. The piece is from 1984 and it is perfectly carved with 16 ribs. They start small at the top and then get larger as they narrow to the base. Note the depth of the carving on this piece and the SHARP edges to each rib! The entire bowl is fully polished which takes an extraordinary amount of time. Consider that each rib has two “sides” to be polished and the surface area of the piece is about double its size! Each rib also comes to a “point” or edge, which adds to the difficulty as she has to take care not to chip or crack the edge of the rib during the polishing stage. The bowl is fired a deep black. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Nancy Youngblood”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.
This “S” swirl starts with the rib on the right, then it goes to the left, to the right, to the left to the right to the left to the right, and finally to the left. It’s three times on the right and three times on the left. It is extremely difficult to polish because you are moving your hand right to left to right to left as quickly as you can. Then you have to flip the pot over and do it the opposite way. Technically, this is one of the most difficult pieces to polish because you are continually flipping it around. I call that an S swirl. My grandmother was doing pieces a long time ago with that S swirl and so was my uncle Camilo. I saw a piece of my uncle Camilo’s pottery at a gallery here in Santa Fe. It was just a vase, but it had big swirls on it all the way around. I wanted to make something uniquely mine and not copy theirs so that’s why I created these very intricate swirls.” Nancy Youngblood, Spoken Through Clay