“Clouds and Cloud People”
Lucy Leuppe McKelvey is a self taught Navajo potter who received a little help from Hopi-Tewa friends. It has taken her 30 years to learn to make her beautiful pottery and is glad that all of her daughters are fine potters in their own right and that one of them is taking it up as a career even though she has a college degree. She has been trying to make Navajo pottery evolve up into a fine art going up and above tradition while still using native techniques and home refined materials that are all natural. Most of the designs are adapted from Navajo sand painting designs, rug and basket designs, and the ancient pottery designs from the ancient ruins that are so numerous in the area that she grew up in. This pot is very difficult to make. It's rippled from the very bottom of the pot up to the pot's neck. This is very difficult to do being that the inside of the pot is likewise tippled as the ripples are not of bass relief overlay just on the outside. Only a very skilled potter could accomplish such a pot. It takes about three times longer and much more skill to coil and scrape it up this way. It is made int he shape of a rippled gourd but made of clay. It has a long curved tail and has an opening near the top as a spout. Being the gourds are used in some ceremonies for water hugs, Lucy usually chooses water or storm designs to decorate the gourds. The gourds tail is slipped and polished with a sparkly micacious slip as contrast to the rest of the pot. The spout is edged with a rainbow design on the outside by terraced triangular clouds, one gray and one red. This rainbow is criss crossed with a flashing zig zag male lightning. At the top and the bottom end of the rainbow are terraced rain cloud designs. The bottom cloud shape is an opening or emergence to the inside of the gourd which represents a sacred spring of water. On the outside rippled tops of the gourd are large terraced red and white, rain laden rain clouds or storm patterns. Above and between these storm pattern clouds are red triangular clouds. Three of the triangular clouds have Cloud People peaking out that have their heads decorated triangular clouds, various kinds of feathers and lightening flashes. The two Cloud people with half round heads are the male and the one with the rectangular head is the female. On the triangular red cloud in front of the spout springs a corn stalk.