Native American Art Pottery: The Resurgence of a Cultural Tradition

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Leading Native American Pottery Artist Raymond Deschene speaks on “Living Art” and the creation of his unique and beautiful Southwestern Art creations.

Prayer steps on a pot show the person has a traditional background and is on a good path. Wedding vases use ancient stories, and help give us a clearer understanding of traditional ways of life. Teepees, eagle feathers, a lady weaving, and wildlife such as elk, eagle, coyote, and bear show what’s important to our people.

About twenty years ago, fascination with southwestern art and pottery swept the nation. Captivated by the distinctive allure of traditional Native American colors, designs and symbols, homes everywhere showcased Native American ceramic art. But when cheap, imported “southwestern art” flooded the market, almost all authentic Native American art and ceramic companies went out of business.

One of the few survivors was Cedar Mesa Pottery (http://www.cmpottery.com) -- a company rare in their uncompromising commitment to providing only authentic Native American art to the public. One of the better known artists to emerge from that era was Navajo Raymond Deschene, whose artistic talents and cultural philosophy adorn the seventeen distinct lines he has created.

As with all Cedar Mesa Native American pottery, his unique masterpieces -- each hand-crafted and painted -- evoke the mystique of antiquity and Native American art tradition, and come with a certificate of authenticity.

Deschene began his artist career early, learning from a favorite teacher to overcome adversity through taking pride in his work and “living my art on a daily basis.”

As a young man, Deschene found work doing all the designs for a pottery shop down the street. By the time he moved on, he had the hottest selling pottery lines in the country -- so hot, in fact, that when he moved to prominence in a new company, he was competing against his own lines!

Deschene developed his own unique -- and secret -- pottery process, one others have tried but been unable to duplicate. He feels his best works are his carvings.

“My carving pottery, it’s more me. I can go into detail and make them look really exquisite.”

Although people respond innately to the deeply felt spirituality which transmutes Deschene’s pottery into works of timeless beauty, few understand the significance of the symbols and colors of Native American art.

“Red represents ground,” he explains. “Turquoise, white, silver and black represent the four sacred mountains around the reservation. Yellow and white are our traditional colors for thunder. Blue is sky, black is darkness, and green is growth and life.”

“Prayer steps on a pot show the person has a traditional background and is on a good path. Wedding vases use ancient stories, and help give us a clearer understanding of traditional ways of life. Teepees, eagle feathers, a lady weaving, and wildlife such as elk, eagle, coyote, and bear show what’s important to our people.”

His work expresses his personal philosophy.

“Whatever you draw, whatever you take, a visual icon of a certain animal or certain place, you always have to offer something back. Yes, the idea might be yours, but those animals, those mountains have their own place and you have to ask for permission to utilize those things. Those pots are made out of sand and dirt; that’s mother earth; and through that knowledge you take care of it. And in return it takes care of you. That’s what I go by, day by day.”

Raymond Deschene Native American pottery and other ceramic Native American art, can be seen at Cedar Mesa’s online art gallery at http://www.cmpottery.com.

For More Information Contact:

Joe Lyman

Cedar Mesa Pottery

Phone: 435-679-2241

Fax: 435-678-2906

333 South Main

Blanding, UT., 64511

http://www.cmpottery.com

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