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Over the years, a thread running throughout my work has been an interest in the revival of abandoned, overlooked, or neglected, Jewish objects, texts or art forms. I am fascinated by the interplay between old forms and their translation, reinterpretation and transformation into contemporary pieces. The breathing of new life into old forms has been a lifelong artistic obsession.

A similar process has been at work in the art of pueblo pottery. Though the creation and decoration of functional pottery has been an uninterrupted process for hundreds of years, it is clear that at a certain point a conscious decision to look back at old forms and designs was made. The ubiquitous little pottery shards easily found throughout the Southwest provided intriguing hints of the designs used by the ancestors. Once archeologists began unearthing the ceramic treasures of the ancient Indian civilizations, all could see the actual pots used many generations before. The finds at Mimbres were especially important in this regard. I can only imagine how powerful the deep identification with their ancestors must have been for the pueblo peoples as these stunningly powerful images were discovered. Their influence has pervaded the work of pueblo pottery ever since. Some of these ancient designs, like the repeated feather design, have now become almost emblematic. In the sixties I met Maria Martinez, perhaps the most famous pueblo potter. In her stunningly elegant black-on-black pottery she transformed the Mimbres feather pattern into an icon of Indian art. In this work, I have adapted this pattern to our ram’s horn—the Shofar—whose shattering, primal, age-old voice announces our moments of greatest joy and calls us annually to self-examination and repentance.

Edition of the Pueblo Portfolio

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