Hopi Pottery, Native American Pottery by Helen Naha, Feather Woman, Eagle Tail Pattern-#679
679. Description: Native American, Hopi pottery by Helen Naha Feather Woman with Eagle tail pattern.
Condition: Excellent for age and use.
Dimension: 6" x 7.5".
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The Artist: Helen Naha (1922-1993) was the matriarch in a family of well known Hopi potters.
She was the daughter-in-law of Paqua Naha (the first Frog Woman). Helen was married to Paqua's son Archie. She was mostly self-taught, following the style of her mother-in-law and sister-in-lawJoy Navasie (second Frog Woman). Her designs are often based on fragments found at the Awatovi ruins near Hopi.
Her hallmark style was finely polished, hand-coiled pottery finished in white slip with black and red decorations. She would often take the extra step to polish the inside of a piece as well as the outside.
She signed her pottery with a feather glyph (shown in inset). This resulted in her being called Feather Woman by many collectors. Both of her daughters, Sylvia and Rainy (Rainell), as well as her granddaughter Tyra Naha are well known potters.
Today, her medium to larger pots typically sell for several thousand dollars. She has been recognized by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts for her body of work through the creation of the Helen Naha Memorial Award - For Excellence in Traditional Hopi Pottery.
Naha was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
‰ۢ Oman, Richard G. (1992), "Artists, Visual", in Ludlow, Daniel H, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, pp. 70-73, ISBN 0-02-879602-0, OCLC 24502140
‰ۢ Dillingham, Rick. Fourteen Families in Pueblo Pottery. Foreword by J. J. Brody. University of New Mexico Press, (reprint edition) 1994. ISBN 0-8263-1499-6
‰ۢ Graves, Laura. Thomas Varker Keam, Indian Trader. University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8061-3013-X
‰ۢ Pecina, Ron. Hopi Kachinas: History, Legends, and Art. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2013. ISBN 978-0-7643-4429-9 Pp. 163-166.
‰ۢ Schaaf, Gregory. Hopi-Tewa Pottery, 500 Artist Biographies. Edited by Richard M. Howard, CIAC Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico, ISBN 0-9666948-0-5
‰ۢ Source: Wikipedia
A History of Pueblo Pottery:
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)
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