Friday, August 9, 2013
HOPI INDIAN WOMAN
Years ago I studied with the Hopi’s at the Isomata School of the Arts in Idlewild California. The Nampeyo family, my teachers, came from the first mesa in Pollaca Arizona. I was actually studying the art of polychrome pottery, their trademark, but also learned much about the philosophies of “the people.”
We gathered our pigments and made our brushes out of the tips of a yucca plant. We created our sculptures and then built our kilns out of sheep dung, which we chopped into bricketts. While the kiln was firing our pieces, we listened to stories told by the elders. When I asked why we were using sheep dung when it had to be brought in, instead of horse dung that was readily available on their mesa, I was answered with one word; one important word. ”Tradition.” The pottery is made in the same method, using the same materials that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is important to the Hopi’s to pass on their methods and beliefs.
In a tribute to my teacher, Bonnie Nampeyo, I wrote a story which is included in my book “She Who Whispers.” I also name most of the pieces that I create that include a Native American woman with pottery, Nampeyo, although I usually use a black finish which is more indicative of the Acoma tribe.
Nampeyo is 10" H by 7"w and 7"xD. She is sculpted from stoneware clay which has been kiln fired, ( in my electric kiln, not the sheep dung.) I have priced her at $200. You can see more views of her at my Etsy shop or purchase from me directly by e-mail.