Not much is widely known about Caddo pottery because their pots were traditionally buried with the owner, making them sacred and generally not for public display. As a young artist, Chase was fascinated by the pottery he saw on family trips to the southwest and decided to carry on his tribe’s traditions through pottery too. To learn Caddo pottery techniques, many of which are exclusively tribal knowledge, Chase read tons of books and built a rapport with tribal elders who passed on their knowledge. He also got some help from fellow Oklahoman Jeri Redcorn, who is widely recognized for reviving Caddo pottery. Examples of her work, as well as Chase’s, can be seen in “Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World.”
Chase makes a lot of pottery using ancient Caddo techniques, including hand-digging the clay. First, he digs the clay and dries it. Once it’s dried, Chase mixes in chunks of dried clay and a tempering material like freshwater shells so the pots will bake correctly. Once the clay is made, he can get to work crafting a traditional pot.
Here’s an example of a traditional Caddo cooking pot (the one Chase will cook in at the Annual Chuck Wagon Festival). Chase made it himself, but what’s equally exciting is what will go inside.