Hopi & Pueblo Tiles

Today we will be exploring and celebrating a little of the history and variety of the artwork of the Native Americans with information from mother and daughter team Pat and Kim Messier who have dedicated innumerable hours to research and have authored various books on Native American art, with one specifically devoted to the tiles of the Hopi and Pueblo peoples.

In contrast to much of Europe, Asia, and Africa, the tiles of the Hopi and Pueblo people aren’t formed to lay on floors and walls but are instead made specifically for hanging. But they weren’t made for use in Native American homes, but were instead an ‘invention’ sold as keepsakes within the burgeoning tourist trade in the 19th and 20th centuries.

These hangings vary hugely in their thicknesses, colours, and imagery depending on the artist, decade, and skill level. Generally the tiles got thicker over time to prevent curling and ensure a flatter final product, whilst the shapes became more uniform as moulds were reportedly introduced into the process.

Rich earth tones and bold lines make up wonderfully characterful images that vary from Kachina dolls to geometric patterns, and from wildlife to people full of hypnotic charm and artistic skill.

A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, November 2022.

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