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Christine McHorse
Lizard Pot
about 1990
pit-fired clay with piñon pitch
5 3/4 x 13 7/8 x 11 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson



Christine McHorse is a contemporary potter who uses both traditional and contemporary processes for her clay creations. She fired Lizard Pot in the old Navajo manner—in an outdoor pit using cottonwood bark for fuel—and coated it with piñon pitch. For other work, she uses an electric kiln because it allows better control and thinner clay walls. The artist recognizes that she sometimes breaks with tradition, but asserts that she is "as Navajo as anyone else," and can make her own "taboos and traditions."