Book review: "Canvas of Clay: Seven Centuries of Hopi Ceramic Art"

  • Sikyatki polychrome scarlet macaw effigy bottle, ca. 1500-1550.

    Gary Rohman/El Otro Lado
  • Migration Pattern, jar by Fannie Polacca Nampeyo, 1967.

    Gary Rohman/El Otro Lado
 

Canvas of Clay: Seven Centuries of Hopi Ceramic Art.
Edwin L. Wade and Allan Cooke,
248 pages,
softcover: $40.
El Otro Lado, 2012.

In Canvas of Clay, the authors explore the evolution of Hopi pottery from the 14th century until recent times. Pairing full-page color prints with scholarly narrative, historical photographs with schematic drawings, the book portrays the skill and cultural memory molded into each pot, whether fired in an earthen pit or in a modern kiln. In the end, however, as the authors note, "This is not a book about pottery. It is about ... how the desire to create and know beauty continues ... in times of chaos and change."