Navajo artist Alice Cling was born around 1946 in a hogan at Cow Springs, in the Tonalea section of Arizona. Her pots, embellished with the traditional thin coat of pitch, are deceptively simple. Their lasting beauty comes from her unusual use of clay and from the striking colors caused by outdoor firing. Alice learned how to make pottery from her mother, Rose Williams, an innovative Navajo potter who had been trained by her aunt, Grace Barlow, who had raised Rose at Shonto. Grace, Rose, and Alice have been the inspiration for many Navajo potters who have recently tried to make pottery for the "market." Navajo clay-work for hundreds of years was made for domestic or ceremonial use only. No railroad stations or museums existed in this vast, sparsely populated desert landscape to spark a demand for tourist goods or for scholarly endeavors that would bring the art of potters to the fore. After graduating from an Indian school, Alice married Jerry Cling. They have four children who make pottery now, too. The family digs the brown-firing clay from a special place near Black Mesa, screens it to eliminate impurities, and mixes it with sand for temper and with water to make it workable. Alice's particularly unusual aesthetic contribution to the Navajo pottery renaissance is the magnificent coloration she achieves on the softly burnished and lightly pitch-coated surfaces of her forms.
Click to view Pottery by Alice Cling