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2023 Masters Award recipient, Chase Kahwinhut Earles

From 800 AD to the 1700's Caddo tribal pottery was an incredible and well-known tradition in the North American SouthEast traded far and wide even to France and Spain. Knowledge of this great cultural history disappeared as the Caddo tribe consolidated and was decimated from conquistador’s diseases and colonialism. Our last Caddo potter, a matriarch of my tribal namesake, stopped making pottery around 1908 and our tradition was almost lost. Through my work I hope to bring that unsung ceramic legacy back to the light.
Most people don’t get to see our ancient pottery because most all of our ancestral pottery was used at the end of its life as a burial offering. In that way, most of these culturally sensitive pieces cannot be put on display for the public to see. The most important thing to me is to faithfully and respectfully capture the skillfulness and intricate details of our tradition in order to bring to the public’s admiration our specific tribe’s identity.
Because of that I found it important to use the same methods and materials my ancestors would have used with little compromise.  Using these traditional methods by digging my own clay, hand gathering the mussel shell I put into the clay, hand building, burnishing with a rock, pit firing the unfired pottery in an open ground fire, and engraving the designs after the pot is fired is important to capture the soul and the essence of our ancestral style and identity.
However, I also feel very deeply that our tribe’s representation and communication through the design and creation of pottery would have evolved over time with the introduction of new situations and environments. For that reason, I also strive to present a new ceramic and sculptural interpretation from my own experiences and as my own artist but as an ambassador to my Caddo tribe and its ancient cultural identity.

Call: +(803) 956-9876


PO Box 333101
Murfreesboro, TN 37133

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