Embarrassed revelation: we cannot remember the full name of the potter who created this piece.
And she deserves to be known, for this is a lovely example of really traditional Navajo pottery.
Just about all Navajo potters live near, or travel to, the Cow Springs/Shonto area of the reservation, in north-central Arizona. That’s where there are streams and, therefore, clay.
Traditionally made, this piece is entirely hand-made, from digging and preparing the clay to hand-coiling the pot, and finally to firing it in a wood fire.
It is coated with a thin veneer of melted pine pitch, enhancing the color variations – the “fire clouds” – that result naturally from the firing.
The delicate sprays of evergreen needles that decorate this well-shaped pot are an unusual and creative feature.
They are related to, but a departure from, the historic, rope-like circlet that was the only decoration around the neck or lip of the old pots.
Having the lip of the pot exuberantly wavy is another personal feature.
The rather funky finish of the surface is traditional of old-style Navajo pottery.
The anonymous potter’s gift to us all? A lot of charming pot, for very little money.