This pot was made (probably in the 1990s) by Anglo artist Michael Hawley, who signs his pottery “Chakoptewa,” Like ancient Sikyatki pottery, this bowl has an even color and a high-pitched ring when struck because it was fired with coal. (For a discussion of prehistoric mining and use of coal in the Jeddito Valley, see Hack, 1942.) The design is balanced and somewhat formal, but not particularly carefully drawn. Al Anthony Jr., of Adobe Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, sells pottery by Mike Hawley and his description, reprinted here, captures the unique niche that this pottery occupies in a typology of Southwest Native ceramics:
“Michael Hawley of Scottsdale, Arizona is the only living potter today creating true Sikyatki Polychrome pottery in the same manner as they were originally made from the 14th through the 17th centuries. Hawley calls this pottery “Chakoptewa Polychrome,” Chakoptewa being his adopted Hopi name. Hawley uses only hand-ground clay dug on Antelope Mesa on the Hopi Reservation and he hand coils, shapes, polishes paints and coal fires each of these pots in a firing pit he constructs himself. All of his pigments are made by hand from minerals and plants indigenous to the Hopi Mesas and each of his painted designs is original and within the Sikyatki design tradition. Mike Hawley’s pieces are original and unique pieces of contemporary ceramic art inspired by ancient tradition. They are not copies or replicas.”
Michael was born in 1948 and died on April 24, 2012.
As can be seen in the photograph, on the bottom Michael has painted a band into which he has scratched his artist name “Chakoptewa.” Below this he has painted his symbol of a pipe and inscribed on it is “907 — 2 –.” One section of this inscription has flaked, making it even more difficult to interpret. One possibility is the the pot was made in 1990 during the seventh month (July), second day of the month: July 2, 1990. I am far from certain that I am reading this notation correctly, however. The early 1990’s would have been towards the end of his pottery production.
Michael make a video documenting his production of his “Chakoptewa” pottery. To see this video, click on the screen below and the tap “Watch on You Tube.”