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A very large Sikyatki-style polychrome pottery “Flying Saucer” jar with an

“Eagletail” design by Michael Peter Hawley, Scottsdale, Arizona, 1988

The late Scottsdale, Arizona pottery artist Michael Peter Hawley (1948-2012) was a true ceramic genius. After years of fascination with ancient Native pottery types of the Southwest, he taught himself how to make a number of them.

He did this not in a modern, shortcut replica way using contemporary materials and modern methods, but, instead, in the painstaking, natural, traditional, ancient way using exclusively native clays which he ground by hand with hand-made stone tools, using only paints he made himself from the same indigenous local minerals and plants used by the ancient potters and which he then applied in the age-old manner with no previously sketched designs using only a hand-cut and chewed yucca fiber brush. Hawley never fired his ceramics in modern high-tech electric kilns. Instead, he constructed his own handmade kilns using only the technology available in the 16th and 17th centuries, fueled by 1200-plus degree hot-burning lignite coal mined from the exact same deposits the ancients used.

The result, as you see here, is nothing short of astonishing; a finely-made and extravagantly-decorated Sikyatki-style low-profile “FLying Saucer” jar. The famous Sikyatki “Flying Saucer” has long been admired as one of the most beautiful and excruciatingly difficult of all Southwestern pottery forms to make due to its extreme swooping shape, thin walls and very large size. This jar is completely authentic in every single detail, but it is only three decades old, instead of four centuries. Michael Hawley's pieces are inspired, original pieces of contemporary ceramic art informed by ancient tradition. They are not in any way copies or replicas. 

The jar measures a very sizeable 16 1/2” in diameter and 7 1/4” in height. It has a complex and beautifully-detailed four-color polychrome “Eagletail” design of stylized bird feathers rendered in four symmetrical sections.  The jar is signed on the bottom with Michael’s adopted Hopi name "Chakoptewa" above the artist's smoking pipe insignia and it is also dated “1988 Q1”. Michael Hawley always referred to these pots as "Chakoptewa Polychromes". The jar is in excellent-plus original condition with no restoration or overpaint. There is one very tiny insignificant chip to the rim and a couple of minor abrasions around the shoulder.

In the 1970's and 1980's, Michael Hawley had a series of completely sold-out, one-man shows at the prominent Gallery 10 in Scottsdale and at the Elaine Horwitch Galleries in Scottsdale and Santa Fe. When you look at outstanding pieces such as this one, it is very easy to understand why.

Price $2,850

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