Silas and Bertha Claw
+ Add Artist to My Preferences
Silas (c1913-2002) and Bertha (1926 - present) Claw were of the Shonto/Cow Springs region of the Navajo Reservation. Silas passed away in 2002 but there is no record of Bertha passing away so it is assumed she is still alive. Although both her grandmother and stepmother were potters, Bertha did not make pottery until early 1970s when she learned the craft from her neighbor Rose Williams. At that time, her repertoire included thin-walled, traditional-style cooking jars, wedding vases, triple-spouted jars, and ceramic beads. The cooking jars, adorned only with a necklace at the rim, are subtly elegant in their simplicity.
Around 1968, Silas began working in clay even though pottery making (like basket making) was considered women's work. Bertha assisted him from the very beginning. Together, the Claws continued to make a variety of pottery shapes: traditional-style cooking jars, wedding vases, triple-spouted jars, and ceramic beads. It is not known which one did which part of the production but it is believed Bertha would form the vessels and Silas would decorate them with a variety of appliquéd and incised plant and animal motifs-usually in high relief and occasionally in full round. These motifs depict a wide range of subjects that includes cactus plants and blooming yuccas, oak leaves with acorns, ears of corn, a menagerie of domestic animals, and horned toads. Silas often applied oil paint in a range of colors to portions of the appliqués to make them even more realistic. He then would coat the vessel with varnish.
** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at Marketing adobegallery.com.