Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I am currently obsessed.

Those who know me might say “So, this is different how?” Maybe “possessed” is a better description. I have been working on developing an exhibit and I can think of nothing else.

But then again, it’s an exhibit about one of my favorite things, and I can think of only a very few other things I’d rather be thinking about. Of course, there are numerous things that I should be thinking about, but I can’t bear to tear myself away.

The exhibit is going to be about Maricopa pottery, and I have been immersing myself into the collection, and the subject, talking about it, looking at it, considering the pottery from every angle, and I am even more in love than I was before, if that is indeed possible. It’s opening in March of next year, and it’s called “All good clay smells like rain.” To prepare for the exhibit, I’ve been doing a lot of research, both in the library and in the field. As much as I like books, I love the field work even more. And the pottery itself....

I love the shiny pieces (she sees something shiny, she gets distracted); I love the matte-finish pieces. I love the jars, the bowls, the plates, the effigies, the old pieces made by anonymous artists, the newer ones made by creative people I am proud to know personally.

Why do I love it so much? It hasn’t always been this way. I got like this because after a few months of working with the older pieces, I finally “got” it. I got the connection between the pots and the land that has become my home and the adventurous and humorous and fearless potters who made them, women who were living a challenging life in a challenging environment. That’s why.

For example, this beautiful jar, one of my favorites. Tall necked jars are a signature shape for Maricopa potters. This one goes a step farther; the potter added little loop handles, creating a more complex silhouette, almost like a person with their hands on their hips. And look at the design on the neck – a stand of saguaro cacti, complete with root systems.

Posted by Holly Young, Curator of Collections

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