This collection is dedicated to Rick Dillingham (1952-1994),
lover of all things Hopi and my teacher and friend.
That hardly covers the territory. In his late teens Rick studied prehistoric and historic Southwestern Indian pottery at the University of New Mexico and learned to restore shattered specimens. Rick became a master potter and received two National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowships. His work is included in the collections of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, The Los Angeles Museum of Art, The University of New Mexico Art Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.
Rick challenged conventional notions of ceramic “perfection.” Drawing on his experience with prehistoric southwestern pottery, he began to deliberately break his bisque-fired pots, then decorated and refired the pieces and reassembled the pots. The tall vase in this collection is an example of this deconstructed style.
He wrote numerous articles about pueblo pottery and is the author of three books on the topic. He learned from Native potters and from these friendships became a dealer of contemporary and historic pueblo pottery. It was in that role that I learned from Rick and bought from him. It was on one of these visits that he asked me what I thought of some bright kiln-fired pots sitting on a table. “They’re not Hopi” I replied, revealing my limited aesthetic sensibility. It was not until several years later that I learned that Rick made pots.
“Conventional” and “Rick Dillingham” have never before appeared in the same sentence. Honest, both self-assured and self-critical, often stubborn and certainly generous, Rick loved and made friends, books and pottery entirely on his own terms.
That is several lifetimes of achievement in one short life.
He is missed.
This vase created by Rick Dillingham is 21.25" h X 10" w.