This hand-made seed pot was made by Navajo potter, Nancy Chilly. It depicts eagle feathers, corn stalks and other symbols important to the Navajo. It measures: 3-1/4 in. diameter and 3 in. tall. Nancy is relatively new to the art over the past few years. She works with her husband Jackson Yazzie at their home on the Utah section of the Navajo reservation.
The couple goes to the Cow Springs area in Arizona, as do most Navajo potters, to get their clay. They buy crushed lava in Farmington, New Mexico, to use as temper in their clay. And they search the trees of Ute Mountain area, by Towoac, Colorado, for the pinion gum from which to melt down for the pitch.
Working on about a dozen pieces at a time, they use their hands to form the clay against a bowl, and then put the two halves together, cutting out the top. In the old style, they use a corn cob to rough up the seam and seal it. After being smoothed, each pot is allowed to dry, and then it is etched. Jackson and Nancy each do their own etching. Nancy usually portrays "lady yeis" as she calls them, or the female Yei figures, and her figures have a more straight line look. Her pictorials represent the Squaw Dance, the Fire Dance, or N'da- the Enemyway Ceremony.
After being etched, the pots are painted and fired, and then the pitch is applied. They simply pour liquid pitch inside and swirl it around to coat the interior, and then use wax paper to apply it to the outside of the pot, giving it a high sheen. They also use textile designs, eagle feathers, rainbows, rain, and lightning, all sacred and important signs of life to the Navajo people. They sign their work with their initials, NAC or JDY, written on a slant.