Thursday, July 20, 2006

Alice Cling and modern Navajo pottery.

Alice Cling is the daughter of Rose Williams, a ground-breaking potter from Tonalea in the Navajo (Dine’) Nation. Prior to her influence, Navajo pottery was essentially utilitarian with heavy pine pitch coating.

Rose and Alice began the movement toward more refined and finished pottery forms, stimulated by a growing awareness of the market for fine Indian pottery. Whereas tourism, museums and widespread trading drove the pottery of the pueblos, Navajo pottery bloomed primarily under the influence of Alice Cling’s beautiful shapes and softly polished and fired pitch slips.

The clay for Alice’s pots and those of her family including Susie Crank, Sue Williams and Lorraine Williams, comes from the secret deposits near Black Mesa. After being dug up and purified, it is tempered with sand and water, making it malleable.

Alice was born in Cow springs in the mid-40s, graduated from school and married Jerry Cling. Their four children are also potters, carrying on the new Navajo pottery tradition.

Alice’s work, which started out as crude and “ugly”, to use her word, has evolved into bowls, vases and ollas with a warm, red-brown-orange surface, with hints of purple and blooms of juniper fire clouds. The coloration comes in part from the iron content in her slip and partly from the conditions in her outdoor firing pits. After firing, Alice burnishes the pots' surfaces with a smooth stone or stick.

The final product has won numerous Indian market and show awards and is highly prized by Native American Indian pottery collectors, realizing handsome prices for its excellence.

As a salute to Alice Cling and her Navajo cohort, our web site at is offering a private pottery sale with 25% off all Alice Cling, Susie Crank, Sue Williams and Lorraine Williams Navajo pottery. To receive this special, limited time discount, you must visit the Navajo pages at our Web site and use the term "AC25%off" when placing your order so we will know that you learned about the sale on our enewsletter blog. The reduction will be taken at the time of purchase.
Tribal Artery is the periodic enewsletter blog of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person on behalf of its web sites at Native-PotteryLink, ZuniLink, TribalWorks and Native-JewelryLink. Thank you for joining us.

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