Pottery Artist: Lucinda Slick
For the Slicks, making traditional Navajo pottery is a family affair. Lucinda first started making pottery with her grandmother when she was twelve years old. The family digs the clay found near Black Mesa, Arizona, and soaks it in water to soften it. Crushed red cinders are combined with the clay and worked into a smooth dough with just the right texture. Imprinted vine patterns, agave plants or ears of corn are often added as decorations.
Next the pottery needs to dry for several days so that it will not crack when it is heated. Then the pottery is polished and ready for the overnight firing. The Slicks slowly fire the pottery outside using local wood, coal and other materials. By carefully controlling the intensity of heat the gentle brown and red and orange colors of the pottery are created. As the pot cools it is glazed with melted sap from the pinion tree. The hot dry clay absorbs the pitch which waterproofs the pottery and gives it a rich shine.
The Slick children are learning the family trade. Lucinda says she likes to keep up her grandparents art and have the children learn. Selling pottery also lets you travel and get to know a lot of people.