Shallow plate with polychrome feather design by Jake Kopee Nampeyo. This is extraordinarily thin for a coiled pot and has an intricate feather design. The design has great energy and motion because it gives the appearance of having no beginning or end. At the time I bought this (July 31, 1995) it and the tall Jake Nampeyo vase (1994-11) were the only two pieces by Jake I had seen. He is not included in Rick’s Fourteen Families book and it was difficult to find information about him. Nellie (1991-03 and 1993-02) is his great-grandmother, Marie Koopee (1994-17) is his grandmother. His mother, Georgia Koopee (2007-06), did not make much pottery. Since I bought this pot, Jake has become famous for his work and he has dropped the name “Nampeyo” from his signature. He, Steve Lucas, Les Namingha and (of course) Mark Tahbo are representative of the fine male potters who have begun work in this generation. For other pots by Jake see the “Artist List.”
The description (above) was written close to the time I bought jar 1994-11. Fourteen years later, on 11/19/09, I visited with Jake in his home on First Mesa. Using his iPhone he was able to access my collection website and see images of this plate. It was fired in January 1992, during Jake’s winter break from undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina. During the break he made this plate (and another) to help finance his education. Jake’s father (Jacob, senior) was a kachina carver and sold his carvings to the Covered Wagon Gallery on the plaza in Albuquerque. Father drove son to Albuquerque to catch a plane to return to college. On the way to the airport they stopped at the Covered Wagon; father sold his carvings and son his two pots to the owners, a husband and wife team. The wife (Anne Goodman) had the habit of hording (and refusing to sell) particularly well-made pueblo pottery. Plate 1995-14 was part of a huge collection of pottery taken out of storage and sold after Ms. Goodman’s death. Jake began making pottery in 1989. This plate (made in 1992) is thus one of his early pieces, made when he was about 22 years old. As noted above, it is particularly thin, symmetrical and ingeniously painted: early evidence of an extraordinary ceramic career that spaned only two decades. Jake died on 6/14/11.