Sunday, March 4, 2012

Nampeyo -- Day 57

Walk: Loop from my place to Kabuki Theater for Cinema Club ('Boy') to Trader Joe's and home.
Distance: 3 Miles

Nampeyo (1860? - 1942)

Last Thursday's (3/1) Art History Lecture at the de Young was on Southwestern Pottery and Baskets.

The first Southwestern potter to be collected by name was Iris Nampeyo, known and revered as simply 'Nampeyo.' Artists known by single name are few - Michelangelo is the only one that springs immediately to mind - and Nampeyo earned that honor with a lifetime of skillful devotion to the ancient craft of Hopi-Tewa pottery which she essentially (with painting assistance from her husband, Lesso, and daughters Daisy, Annie, Nellie and Fanny) revived from the Sikyatki tradition of the 1600's and then brought into the contemporary world with her original shapes and designs .

Nampeyo is credited with starting the revival of Hopi pottery, the so-called 'Sikyatki Revival.' She was influenced by designs from prehistoric and historic Hopi and other other cultures such as Inuit. Much of her exposure to these old art works was with her husband in excavated ruins at nearby 1st Mesa. In this sense she revived Hopi-Tewa (Sikayatki) pottery. But as her forms and designs evolved they came to differ greatly from Sikyatki so she is also credited with the birth of contemporary Hopi pottery, now called Hano Polychrome. It is not too much to say that without Nampeyo, Hopi pottery may have been an obscure or even dead art form.

Three designs in particular were 'invented' by Nampeyo and 'belong' to her and only continue among her numerous, talented descendants. If you ever see any of these designs, they will be painted by a member of the Nampeyo family.

Eagle Feather Design ( attributed to Nampeyo ca. 1900-1910)

Migration Design (attributed to Nampeyo ca. 1930)

Spider Design (attributed to Nampeyo ca 1900-1910)