This is our second piece of pottery from Bobby. This gorgeous bowl is hand coiled and traditionally fired outdoors. He uses Zuni clay body and Hopi slips. It was such a pleasure working with Bobby. He is thoughtful, and so willing to teach me about his design work and how it relates to his cultural background. He uses all natural materials for his paints and fires his pottery with lignite coal instead of manure.
This large new jar is a wonderful creation. This is Bobby’s detailed explanation of the work:
“On the belly of the jar is a Zuni rain bird design. It is a representation of a cumulus cloud that is holding its moisture. What Zunis call rain bird located in the middle of the cloud is the messenger delivering the prayer as you can see in the eye indicating that it is a cloud being. If this part does not have an eye, then it is just a prayer, but when you put an eye in the crook it becomes a being, thus making the jar a living being. The jar itself is a direct representation of a cloud holding rain. The two red hills right above the cloud being represents the Zuni heavens which is the final resting place of the Zuni. It has prayer feathers planted in between them indicating that this is a blessing from the ancestors in the form of rain. It’s like saying – let this be so.
The Neck of the jar:
From the left of this design in the section with the four lines represents a prayer stick and prayers for rain. The rain bird to the right is the spiritual being coming to deliver this prayer to the Zuni people The rainbird with its hatched lines and breaks in them with what looks like teeth are a representation of seeds “saying that the grandfathers are coming to plant their seeds with the people.” In front of the rain bird has the two red hills with prayer feathers in between and also indicated that these prayers are coming from the Zuni heavens.
This Zuni jar has heart lines, soul lines or lifelines on the top, middle and bottom of jar – these are left open for the potter is still alive and for the life of the jar. When it is our time to be with our ancestors and go to the heavens we will finish them there, thus closing them off. This is the spiritual connection with all our pots.”
Having this description makes the jar and its design work so understandable and so very personal to Bobby. I thank him for taking the time to explain this material to me. It is wonderful.
8” high by 10” wide