Navajo pottery was born from necessity, and is made only around the north-central area of Cow Springs and Shonto, on the Navajo land, where there is water.
Alice Cling learned from her mother, Rose Williams,who taught most of the current Navajo potters, as well.
Alice, however, forged a new path for Navajo pottery, and is famed for bringing it from its unrefined tradition to polished (literally) excellence.
This jaunty two-handled jug is a blend of tradition and modern.
The clay is native to the area, gathered, mixed, coiled, smoothed by hand, and fired in a pit.
It is daubed, inside and out, with melted pinon pitch, to provide some water resistance. (But DO NOT put water in it!)
When the pinon pitch meets the firing flames, the dark fire clouds appear, that are virtually the only decoration.
The twisted, ropy handles are also a traditional touch. The highly polished and gleaming finish is Alice’s modern contribution.
She has been known to use a plastic hairbrush handle to achieve that lovely, caressable finish.
With a nicely proportioned form, and a touch of tradition, this perky pot is a delightful addition to, or start of, a Navajo – or Native – pottery collection.