Pottery Artist: Etta Rock

Etta Rock lives in the Four Corners area of Utah near world famous Monument Valley.  She is the sweetest little lady you could ever meet.  She speaks barely enough English to name a price for her authentic Navajo Pitch Pots.  Etta is on of only a few people who know and practice this ancient Native American craft.

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Navajo Pitchpot

The water bottle is an example of wickerwork made by the Navajo. They are called Tqoshje, probably a contraction of tqo, water, and yishje, it is closed with gum, from the fact that the wicker bottle or jar is covered with a layer of gum or pitch. These bottles are made of, or sewed with sumac, willow, or other pliable twigs, in the shape of a large vase with a rounded bottom, a globular body, and a long, narrow neck with a flaring rim. A small loop of plaited horsehair is woven into the jar at either side. An awl is the only instrument used, and no particular care is taken to weave very closely, as the jar is rendered water-tight by a covering of pine or pinon gum over the whole inner and outer surface. The gum is heated and poured into the jar, and by inclining and turning is brought in contact with the whole inner surface, after which the surplus pitch is poured off. A heated pebble is then thrown inside and vigorously shaken, which is said to remove any hardened lumps, and gives the interior a smooth surface. The exterior, too, is now covered with gum, which in addition is daubed with red clay to obtain a reddish hue. Any unevenness is then removed from the surface by pressing a heated pebble over it. These jars have no lid, but a bunch of grass or sage bark is stuffed into the neck of the jar to prevent the water from splashing out. A cord or rope attached to the loops on the sides of the jar is slipped over the shoulders, or across the forehead, with the jar resting on the small of the cask, so that it can be conveniently carried in this manner for a considerable distance. Their capacity can be up to two gallons.

Wedding Water Jug / Was $400.00

Created on the principle of the Navajo pitch pot.
Woven with the traditional wedding basket red band and black step pattern.

The gap in the design is to let out any bad feelings the weaver may have had while working on the basket.
This piece is left raw,

10 × 10 × 9 in