Arlo chose the following for the Grounded in Clay exhibit:
After viewing several amazing ceramic pieces for this project in the SAR collection by members of my Nampeyo family and by those of other talented families of Pueblo artists, I realized that the school has a vast number of works. I decided on a pot created by my great-grandmother Rachel Namingha (Nampeyo). I was fortunate to grow up knowing both my great-grandparents Emerson and Rachel Namingha. The stylized bird design on this pot is one that has been handed down from generation to generation. In our collection, my wife and I have a smaller pot by my aunt Camille Quotskuyva (Nampeyo) with the same design.
These Nampeyo designs have always been an inspiration in my own creative work. I fondly remember spending time at Hopi with my grandparents and great-grandparents when I was a teenager, while taking part in ceremonies. One summer my grandmother Dextra Quotskuyva (Nampeyo) asked me to redo some of the Nampeyo family drawings they had on newsprint because the artworks were showing some wear and fading a bit. I studied the images and asked a lot of questions about each symbol in all the different renderings that were used for reference by my grandmother, aunts, and cousins when they were creating their own ceramics. I spent hours upstairs at Emerson and Rachel’s home, copying these designs on new sheets of paper for their family portfolio.
I feel so fortunate to be a part of a unique artistic lineage and culture, learning these techniques and traditions firsthand. I incorporate these ideas into my own work, not to re-create them, but to draw from them and honor our family. I have used elements of these designs in my interactive stone sculptures in honor of the Nampeyo family, and have dedicated a few sculptures to specific family members.
I have always admired the skill and innovation of my great-great-great-grandmother Nampeyo’s designs, and also all the generations of ceramicists who continue to elaborate on and draw from these works. I hope to carry on this legacy in my own artistic expression and medium.