Hopi : Exceptional Native American Hopi Pottery Jar, by Tyra Naha #182
182. Description: Ca. 1980's, Beautiful contemporary poly chrome seed pot with Nampeyo influence, avian patterns. Very good condition. 2-3/4" x 5-1/2"
Tyra is the daughter of well-known Hopi artist, Rainy Naha. She has certainly learned a lot from her mother, and carries on the tradition and influence of her grandmother, Helen Naha-also known as Feather Woman. Tyra is an accomplished potter in her own right and continues to produce the same quality work that is the hallmark of the Naha name. Tyra has shown at several major venues throughout the Southwest. She has been featured at shows in Santa Fe, NM, the Heard Museum, and others.
Tyra has already appeared in a few publications dealing primarily with Native American art, and Hopi Pottery in particularly. Of most notable mention is The Art of the Hopi by Jerry and Lois Essary Jacka (pp. 42).
Like her mother, Tyra pays special attention to every detail - polishing her pottery both inside and out. Her pieces are delicate and graceful - full of balance. Some have said that they have a porcelain-like quality. Such could be said about this piece. Although her pieces are fashioned entirely in the traditional manner, Tyra's work remains incredibly fine, and unlike many hand-coiled potteries, Tyra's are amazingly light. She has signed with a combination of the Naha family feather and the spider which represents her clan. (Source: Ancient Nations)
Pueblo pottery is made using a coiled technique that came into northern Arizona and New Mexico from the south, some 1500 years ago. In the four-corners region of the US, nineteen pueblos and villages have historically produced pottery. Although each of these pueblos use similar traditional methods of coiling, shaping, finishing and firing, the pottery from each is distinctive. Various clay's gathered from each pueblo's local sources produce pottery colors that range from buff to earthy yellows, oranges, and reds, as well as black. Fired pots are sometimes left plain and other times decorated most frequently with paint and occasionally with applique. Painted designs vary from pueblo to pueblo, yet share an ancient iconography based on abstract representations of clouds, rain, feathers, birds, plants, animals and other natural world features.
Tempering materials and paints, also from natural sources, contribute further to the distinctiveness of each pueblo's pottery. Some paints are derived from plants, others from minerals. Before firing, potters in some pueblos apply a light colored slip to their pottery, which creates a bright background for painted designs or simply a lighter color plain ware vessel. Designs are painted on before firing, traditionally with a brush fashioned from yucca fiber.
Different combinations of paint color, clay color, and slips are characteristic of different pueblos. Among them are black on cream, black on buff, black on red, dark brown and dark red on white (as found in Zuni pottery), matte red on red, and poly chrome a number of natural colors on one vessel (most typically associated with Hopi). Pueblo potters also produce un-decorated polished black ware, black on black ware, and carved red and carved black wares.
Making pueblo pottery is a time-consuming effort that includes gathering and preparing the clay, building and shaping the coiled pot, gathering plants to make the colored dyes, constructing yucca brushes, and, often, making a clay slip. While some Pueblo artists fire in kilns, most still fire in the traditional way in an outside fire pit, covering their vessels with large potsherds and dried sheep dung. Pottery is left to bake for many hours, producing a high-fired result.
Today, Pueblo potters continue to honor this centuries-old tradition of hand-coiled pottery production, yet value the need for contemporary artistic expression as well. They continue to improve their style, methods and designs, often combining traditional and contemporary techniques to create striking new works of art. (Source: Museum of Northern Arizona)