Hopi Canteen Collection
Opening Reception Friday August 12th, 2011 from 5-7pm
"Then a toy canteen was begun by taking a lump of clay which, by molding, soon assumed the shape of a low vase. With a small stick, a hole was punched through each side, a roll of clay was doubled for the handles, the ends thrust through the holes and smoothed down inside the vase, through the opening. The neck of the canteen was inserted in a similar way. Now the problem was to close the opening in this soft vessel from the outside. Nampeyo threw a coil around the edge of the opening pressing the layers together, gradually drawing in, making the orifices smaller until it presented a funnel shape. Then the funnel was pressed toward the body of the canteen, the edges closed together, soldered, smoothed, and presto! it was done and all traces of handling hidden. Any one knowing the difficulties will appreciate this surprisingly dexterous piece of manipulation. Afterward, Nampeyo made a small vase-shaped vessel, by modeling alone, without the addition of coiling as in the shaping of the canteen." The Hopi, by Walter Hough, Curator of Ethnology, United States National Museum, pub. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Torch Press, 1915, p.79.
- On Friday August 12th, at 5p.m., Steve Elmore Indian Art will proudly open its show of two dozen historic Hopi ceramic canteens, dating from 1895 to the present. Collected by Steve over the last 15 years, most of the canteens were made by the famous Hopi potter, Nampeyo (1860-1942). The show also presents contemporary Hopi canteens by Nampeyo's direct descendent, Rachel Sahmie.
- For the show, Steve writes: "Nampeyo was a master of the canteen form, and she made them throughout her career, beginning with large undecorated ethnographic canteens in the 1870s. While it is difficult to attribute the undecorated ones to her, she developed distinctive markers in her canteens: handles with large grooves in them and turned up spouts in particular. After she began to decorate them, her drawing was often unmistakable. Later in her career she specialized in making small well-molded canteens brilliantly painted for the tourist trade. Most of the canteens in my show date from that 1900 to 1920 period."
- We are fortunate to have the writings of Walter Hough, assistant to Jesse Fewkes during the prehistoric Sikyatki excavations at Hopi who described Nampeyo making a toy canteen during his visit with her in 1896:
I am proud to offer such a fine selection to my collectors, - Steve Elmore
See the collection here
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