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Alice Cling

Native American, b. 1946


11 x 8 in. (27.94 x 20.32 cm)
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Alice Cling’s Untitled is a polychromatic vessel that features subtle variations of red, brown, black, and purple. Cling sources her clay directly from the Black Mesa area, a region steeped in controversy since the Peabody Western Coal Company began strip-mining the mesa for coal in
the 1960s. Cling eliminates impurities from the clay and mixes it with sand and water to create coil-built vessels. Juniper wood is used during the firing process to produce the vibrant pigmentation she is known for. The surfaces of Cling’s vessels are unusual for Navajo ceramics. Rather than polishing the surface with a traditional corncob, Cling uses smooth river stones. This technique emphasizes the texture and color of her exquisite glazes over other forms of surface design.

Alice Cling was born in Cow Springs, Arizona, in the Tonalea region of the Navajo Nation. In 1966, she graduated from the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. Cling, along with her mother Rose Williams and aunt Grace Barlow, are credited with revitalizing traditional Navajo ceramics.

Matthew Limb

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