Niadi Wildflower


Niadi Wildflower is a member of the Chemehuevi tribe. The Chemehuevi are the southernmost grouping of the Southern Paiutes (the Southern Paiutes traditionally lived in the Colorado River basin and the Mohave Desert in northern Arizona and southeastern California, southern Nevada and southern Utah). Niadi is the daughter of Teresa Wildflower. Teresa was probably the most recognized of all Chemehuevi potters.

It's hard to find much information but Niadi most likely grew up on the Colorado River Indian Reservation near Parker, AZ. She most likely learned to make pottery through watching and working with her mother as she was growing up.

Going by the shapes she made, the designs she painted and the exquisite quality of her work, Teresa had most likely learned to make pottery from one of her Hopi neighbors. There was a bit of a renaissance in Chemehuevi traditional arts beginning in the 1990's when the tribal casino opened but Teresa was established well before that. I found records of a two-week show of her work in the summer of 1982 at Andrews Pueblo Pottery in Albuquerque.

Teresa's specialty was miniatures and she loved to make them. Niadi seems to have followed in her footsteps. The Chemehuevi pottery tradition was almost wiped out a century before when the Chemehuevi were confined to reservation land far from their desert home. There are examples of older Chemehuevi pottery available in museum collections but they look very Mohave-influenced. The Chemehuevi seem to have learned from the Mohave and the Mohave have passed their own knowledge down from ancient times. Because of that, it's hard to see anything in Teresa's or Niadi's pottery that makes it specifically Chemehuevi. However, their work is light-hearted and reflects a way of looking at nature that is simple, direct and exquisitely to the point.

Niadi's pieces are very well made and meticulously painted. The designs she paints are not specific to any particular tribe. Her pottery is exacting (like her mother's), made to a 1:12 scale (1 inch is equal to 1 foot).

Niadi doesn't seem to be producing pottery any more. I've only ever seen a few of her pieces and info about her is scarce.

4-panel geometric design inside a miniature polychrome bowl A miniature polychrome bowl decorated with a 4-panel geometric design
0.75 in H by 1.75 in Dia
A miniature polychrome bowl with a geometric design
A miniature polychrome bowl with a geometric design
0.75 in Dia by 0.5 in H