2017 Indian Art Market 2nd Place Winner, Pahponee

Second place honors were taken home by nationally renown pottery artist, Pahponee. Pahponee’s winning piece is an enchanting egg sculpture created in the Eastern Woodlands style of Kickapoo pottery.

Pahponee is a member of the Kickapoo tribe and has been creating pottery in that style for 35 years. After graduating college she became interested in the traditional style of pottery of her ancestors. At that time, however, there was no one that Pahponee knows of who was creating art in that way.

“I went to my grandparents and I asked them, ‘how do we make our traditional pottery?’

Even though Pahponee’s grandparents weren’t potters themselves, they were able to relay the tradition of buffalo dung firing pottery to her through the oral tradition of their culture. The tradition dates back Pahponee says “as long as there have been people and buffalo on this continent.” Potters working in this style mold their piece and fire it on an open flame, using the dung of buffalo for fuel.

“They basically said, ‘good luck, let us know how it goes,’” Pahponee laughs.

Pahponee’s award-winning piece which she calls a vessel, was fired in the traditional style of buffalo dung firing at almost 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. “Because it’s not glazed or painted, I’m dependent on what the fire brings to it,” Pahponee says. “The fire brings the heat, flame markings, and smoke patterns… It is a part of our culture, of using what we have around us and connecting with the Earth in that way.”

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