Two-Handled Jar

Alice Cling


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Navajo pottery historically was made out of necessity and for the potters’ use.

There aren’t many areas on the Navajo reservation that have enough water for pottery-making, so the area around Cow Springs is the home of most of the Navajo potters.

Alice Cling learned from her mother, Rose Williams, who taught most of the current potters, as well. Alice, however, forged a new path for Navajo pottery, bringing it from its unrefined tradition to polished (literally) excellence.

Elegantly formed, gorgeously burnished, and minimally adorned, this pot, like all of Alice Cling’s work, is made in traditional Native fashion.

The clay is native to the area, gathered, mixed, coiled, smoothed by hand, and fired in a pit.

When it is daubed, inside and out, with melted pinon pitch, the dark “fire clouds” appear, the only decoration on this splendid piece.

Navajo pots are the only ones where the random dark fire clouds are encouraged, as embellishment.

The beautifully proportioned and rounded form of this jar is reminiscent of ancient Greek vessels.

The fire clouds seem to emphasize the repeated rotundity of the shape; the glossy finish is the result of hand polishing (Alice often uses a  plastic hairbrush handle!).

Another fine work by this award-winning pioneer of contemporary Navajo pottery, it is more modern, than contemporary, since it seems to refer back to a traditional style, but in a handsomely refined way.

NOTE: Do NOT ever put water in this pot, unless you want a heap of mud. Dried or fabric bouquets are fine, but NO WATER.

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