A major award-winning potter, Erik is at least the fourth-generation of noted – even legendary – potters.
His grandmother, the famed potter, Carmelita Dunlap, was a niece of Maria Martinez, the renowned re-discoverer of black pottery, and was raised in Maria’s household.
Erik’s mother, Martha Appleleaf, is herself a famous potter, so he is following in the family “career” of award-winning pottery-making.
As a younger person, however, Erik has ceaselessly explored techniques from the traditional to the contemporary.
His designs are often traditional, such as feathers, Avanyu, the water serpent, etc. and his creation of polychrome, black-on-black and black-on-red pottery with sgraffito, is also.
However, his flair for the contemporary is evident in beautiful, natural-green-on-black and green-on-red pots that are totally innovative.
In this breathtaking jar, he has pushed the boundaries even further, marrying his fabulous pottery with silver and turquoise.
The cylinder of lustrous, stone-polished black clay is perfectly formed and finished, with the rim coated in a micaceous slip that sparkles darkly.
The painted black-on-black band depicts feather, storm, and other traditional motifs. So far, so beautiful, but not unexpected.
However, the narrow ribbon of pure silver leaf, bounded on both sides by shell and turquoise heishi, is strikingly novel.
Adding astonishment to the unanticipated, he, himself, fabricated a lid for this piece out of tufa-cast sterling silver, topped with a handsome turquoise stone.
(Remember, he is a potter!)
Textured on the exterior, the silver is carved into a traditional Zia symbol, that resembles the sun.
Dots, signs for drops of water, and parallel lines and stepped motifs, refer to rainfall, making the lid a symbolic narrative of nature in balance, resulting in happiness for all.
A tall, beautifully proportioned stem rises from the lid, repeating the shape of the piece itself.
The stem is inlaid on the top with a graceful, inlaid oval of natural turquoise that combines mellow color with a beautifully stormy matrix pattern.
Every part of this elegant jar is impeccable in form, design, and finish. It has a majestic presence; refined, stately, and magnificent.
As is his custom, the signature on the bottom is “Than Tsideh”, his Native name, meaning “Sun Bird”.
The legacy of generations of gifted hands, and innate artistry, are what Erik brings to every piece; his thirst for exploring new boundaries is his own contribution.
This splendid jar is a superb example, and will thrill the collector lucky enough to own it.