Welcome to Hopi Pottery. Perhaps some of the most skilled artisans, Hopi Pottery, called Hano polychrome or Sikyatki Revival, stands out amongst all of the pueblo and non-pueblo pottery makers. The white wash with poly-chrome painting is some of the most recognizable art in the world.
Brilliant black on orange, black on yellow, and/ or red images, shapes, or hieroglyphs painted on pots, bowls, plates, and even ladles, once you see Hopi pottery it will become almost instantaneously recognizable. This is a time consuming profession with great attention to detail required. For more information on how Hopi pottery is made click on the creating tab.
In fact, as you become more experienced, it is fairly easy to identify the maker and clan by the designs and colors. The art is generally taught within families. For instance, the Navasie family's style is very similar. Starting with Paqua Naha, through Joy Navasie, Paqua Naha's influence is easily seen in the work of her children and grandchildren. For more information on artists and families click on the 'artists' link.
The creating of Hopi pottery is not easy. Most traditional potters go through a process that may take upwards of 40 hours. Starting with the digging of the clay, the coiling, polishing, and finally painting, only then is the pot fired. Unfortunately, a large percentage of pots are lost during the firing. As such, it is possible (and not unheard of) for a potter to work on 10 pots (400 hours) only to have two or three 'explode' during firing. The potter has worked four hundred hours for seven pots. For more information, click on the creating tab on the right.
Long collected internationally, Hopi pottery making is a dying art that is in more demand. As such, prices have been steadily rising. Especially as the masters exit the industry because of age.
Here are some tips on collecting Hopi pottery:
The Artist - Some artists, through virtue of the market, are more collectable. Whether it is because of artistic accomplishment or what they started, the more collectable the artist the more collectors are seeking the pieces. If they have garnered awards for the achievements, you can expect pieces of that period to sell for more. An artist may have similar pieces of different periods sell at varying prices because of popularity, awards, scarcity, or 'phase'.
Condition - Generally speaking, pottery in better condition sells for more. Not always the major determinant of value, as it is hard to find older pieces that have survived years of touching, falling, or even use.
Size - Pottery on a grander scale requires more time. There is more surface to paint, more clay to gather, and a real expert to work with the negative space. Larger pottery requires the experience of a master potter and generally are sold at premiums. It is a lot tougher to design a piece that has balance and symmetry when working on a larger piece.
Design - The designs change based upon time. Some artists are capable of adapting and creating new styles while others tend to one specific design. Nonetheless, the more complicated the design and how the design 'fills' the 'canvass' is important. Balance in colors, symmetry in design, and overall integration with the shape of the piece are all important and will affect value.
Here are some other Native American Art Websites:
American Indian Baskets