Loren stone polished this jar using vertical top-to-bottom motion, a difficult and time-consuming technique. Two incised bands textured with a scrafito knife encircle the jar. The design has three red elements, two of these are also incised and textured, and one is simply painted on the pot. The design is a series of abstract symbols. Incorporated into the design nine times are a series of two parallel lines. These remind me of Hopi ladders emerging into the air from kivas atop mesas, stark against the sky. Other designs are evocative of planted fields and rain clouds, though these interpretations may only be in the mind of the current owner. These elements create a visual impression much like the painting by Dan Namingha that is part of the collection.
The uneven lip of the jar, the irregular space left undecorated around this opening, the undulating incised bands: all these work together to give this jar an energized appearance. Traditionalist that I am, I generally do not care for the incised and carved pots that are produced by the children and relatives of Tom Polacca. This is the only carved pot in the collection.
Jar 2010-28 was originally sold by Jack Mellon who tells the following story:
Loren spent his high school years living with Tom Polacca while his parents were off teaching school. He picked up Tom’s incising applying his own style to it. Loren is a very precise person in his art, life and religion. He took Tom’s large bold style and miniaturized it if you will. His mom, Toni, has been ‘after’ Loren for some time to do traditional painting. This pot (2010-28) is his first rendition. Being the rebellious son that he is/was, Loren couldn’t resist doing some carving. A couple of months later we purchased the first totally traditionally painted pot from him. It is incredible in its presentation. He said it was his first and last. His mother just smiled. We are not great fans of carved pots either; however, Loren’s workmanship we believe is the very best in that style. We have several pieces in our collection. Some of his small pieces have an amazing amount of detail.
Rutt Bridges, who bought the pot from Jack Mellon, adds his own commentary: “This is an unusual piece of Loren’s work. The two brown bands running around the pot are the only incising. The rest of the design is traditionally painted, and it features a very nice polish.” I agree.
This pot is one of a group of pots that were part of a 2,400 item Southwest pueblo pottery collection that was assembled by Rutt Bridges of Denver, CO over a period of about 14 years. His sister, Kathleen Hoff, is helping her brother sell the collection. In 2009 Kat sent me two CDs with information about Hopi pots in the collection. During 2010, over a period of months Kay sent me additional photographs of about 200 Hopi and Hopi/Tewa pots from the collection.