For the special Independence Day edition of Show Us Your 'Sun'shine, we feature the work of a Native American artist who captures the beauty and heritage of our nation across the surface of his clay masterworks.
Stories in Clay--Pueblo Stoneware is the slogan of Harold Littlebird, whose authentic stoneware pottery is verified US/claystamp. This work ranked among the judges’ winners from the 36th Annual Art in the Park, which took place March 14 and 15 at Tom Varn Park in Brooksville. Art in the Park is sponsored by The Hernando County Fine Arts Council, along with premier sponsor Florida’s Adventure Coast.
Littlebird claimed 1st place ($550) in the Fine Crafts Division of the competition, earning this honor for a collection of pottery inspired by American tradition.
"My work emanates from my Native American background," said Littlebird, who lives just outside The Villages. "I am the child of parents from two Pueblo tribes."
Littlebird's career spans more than five decades, with his work featured in a brick and mortar 'American institution': the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. His entire career seems steeped in American heritage, as he graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts--also studying under the tutelage of veteran instructor Ralph A. Pardington--and works totally by hand, without the use of a pottery wheel.
Bearing classic nature symbols that include fish, dolphins, whales, deer, butterflies, turtles and dragonflies, Littlebird's stoneware takes the form of usable tableware. He is also a jewelry maker whose other talents include music and storytelling.
"I embrace the arts and the oral tradition," said Littlebird. "Things before the written word. But I write stories as well."
All of Littlebird's artistic endeavors, while varying greatly in form and subject, seem to share a single common theme.
"My mission in life," he said, "is to continue the native tradition."
For more about the work of Harold Littlebird, visit https://www.facebook.com/haroldlittlebirdpottery/.
Share your own inspirations in Show Us Your 'Sun'shine! Send your good news, artwork, poetry or stories to community reporter Megan Hussey at [email protected].