Large Navajo Storyteller with Blue Blouse
Award judges, as well as collectors, agree that her storytellers are truly remarkable.
The serenity, simplified forms, and lifelike poses comprise her characteristic, sculptural style.
The Navajo subjects are also a mark of her figures.
She decided to make Navajo ladies, because their wide skirts are so pretty when spread out.
She was also inspired by her own little boy, who used to run around wearing his father’s tall, cowboy hat.
Pueblos, Rose’s tribal origin, do not wear these tall “rez ” hats, but her Plains husband and Navajo men, do.
The realistic poses and occupations of the children comprise another striking feature of her prize-winning figures.
As a mother and grandmother, Rose knows very well how kids behave, and charmingly translates these activities into her clay children.
They are as adorably busy and active as real kids.
Mother’s voluminous skirt is gracefully sculpted, as she sits solidly on her outstretched legs, a calm anchor to all the energy around her.
Here, there are eleven boys and girls, including the baby in the cradleboard, snugly wrapped in a Navajo blanket.
One little cowboy brandishes his lasso while sitting astride his brother; another brother clutches Mama’s arm, as he looks over her shoulder.
The two boys at the back are talking together, not paying attention to the story: one is drumming, and the other “cowboy” is riding his hobby horse.
One of the girls is paying close attention, standing and holding onto Mother’s arm, as she looks up at her face.
So entranced, she has let her doll dangle, forgotten for the moment.
A sister is seated on Mother’s lap, holding her little lamb, or puppy – could be either. She seems to be listening, also.
The other sister is cosily embraced by her mother’s arm, as she sits on her lap, holding a book, although her attention seems to be either on the baby, or her mother’s tale.
Despite the wonderfully lively, and varied, actions of the children, the piece is suffused with serenity.
The faces are charming; the hairstyles and actions are individual, and Mother’s features are delicately and beautifully formed.
Every bit was formed and decorated according to age-old tradition, except the pale blue top, which is paint.
The rest is natural, hand-gathered clay, red clay slip and black infusion of wild spinach leaves. The firing was done in the ground, and everything was hand fashioned.
This exceptional storyteller is among the most elegant and lovely you will find – and the most amusing to examine.