“Old Lady” Nampeyo’s pot (1993-04) provided the model for 2005-03. In March 2003, Holly Chervnsik visited Hopi to gather information for her master’s thesis. She carried with her an incomplete, black and white photocopied version of the website of this collection. Vera Skorupski introduced Holly to Priscilla Namingha; Rachel was visiting her mother’s home. During that visit, Rachel saw the small black and white image of 1993-04 and liked the design, so she asked Holly if she could provide a larger color image. On 1/11/05 Bill and I were able to stop by Priscilla’s home and leave for Rachel two of Holly’s photographs: 1) a photo of 1993-04 (circa 1900-1910 AD) showing both the exterior and interior design, and 2) the Sikyatki pot (circa 1400 AD) that was likely the model for 1993-04. Twenty-nine days later (February 9) Rachel and Nyla visited Albuquerque and sold 2005-03 to Celia Thresher of C&D Gifts.
This pot is about 100 years younger and slightly smaller than her great-great grandmother’s pot, and there are some minor style variations on the right side of the newer image. Otherwise, the newer pot is a reproduction of the older pot. Interestingly, the design variations are in an area of the photo of 1993-04 that was hidden by the rim. Without an image of this area of the older Nampeyo design, Rachel (literally) “winged it.” Rachel coated the fired pot with Crisco, which gives the pot a slick, wet look and darkens the color of the clay body.
For an extensive discussion of this design, see Appendix B. The clear lineage from the Sikyatki bowl to The “Old Lady” pot and now Rachel’s version is one measure of both the power of this design and the deep roots of Hopi-Tewa pottery. See “Bird Hanging from Sky Band Design” in the Category List for a complete listing of pots in this collection using variations of this design.