Rachel is the great-great-grandaughter of the famed Nampeyo of Hano, “the greatest Hopi potter who ever lived”.
Much like Maria Gonzales,, who revived and celebrated the black pottery of her San Ildefonso Pueblo, Nampeyo revived ancient Sikyatki styles of Hopi pottery.
Rachel, her great-grandmother, Annie Healing Nampeyo, and mother Priscilla Namingha Nampeyo, are all celebrated for their prize-winning pieces.
Rachel specializes in the ancient pottery styles and forms.
This splendid canteen, which comes with its First-Prize ribbons, is modeled after the ones that were taken to the fields, in bygone days.
The decoration is a painting of the Palhik Mana kachina, in red and dark brown on white.
Charming, and authentically historic, in its primitive style of painting, the figure is complete with an elaborate tablita, earrings, dress, and a big smile.
Lace-like streamers fan out on either side, with dots that probably refer to water drops. Palhik Mana is sometimes called Water-Drinking Girl.
The form is flat and rounded, the background clay is smoothy burnished, and the hand-braided ropes are also authentic.
From gathering the clay, coiling the form, painting with clay slips, to firing in the ground, this is entirely traditional in execution, as well as decoration.
This is an unusual form – a re-creation of a traditional pottery piece, originally meant to have utilitarian value.
Created by this famous member of a legendary family of Zuni potters is extra-special.
Originally meant to be strung across the body of the farmer, you will hang it proudly on your wall, or display it on a shelf, table, or mantel.
Of course, it is NOT meant to hold water!
Just admire the creativity, artistry and celebrated, multi-generational skill involved in this handsome canteen.