Hopi Indian Arts and Crafts (1945)

A brief summary of Hopi artisans from First, Second, and Third Mesas weaving a sash, dying rabbitbrush, weaving baskets, and making pottery.

Opening credits: “Coronet presents Hopi Indian Arts & Crafts, Copyright 1945 Coronet Instructional Films, A Division of Esquire, Inc.” over an illustration, then “This Picture was made through the courtesy of United States Department of Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, Supervision by Alfred Whiting, Museum of Northern Arizona”; A Hopi man, seen from behind, sits and weaves at a loom leaned against exterior adobe home, ladder against the wall and corn husks hanging above; various closer views of the man weaving including a larger rug and a narrower sash in green and reddish-ochre; another man (presumably, he’s wearing a different headband) taps with a small hammer on a silver ring he’s making, then close-up of his hands placing a stone into ring and clamping the silver around the setting; then wider and closer shots of the man running a wooden piece on a string up and down a wooden top-like stick with metal drill tip drilling into small stone; a woman gathers long twigs of dried rabbitbrush into a bundle; she closer view of her stripping off the dead leaves; closer view of her gathering yellow blossoms from a Goldenrod (or Sneezeweed) bush, then close-up of the flowers in her hand; the woman walks over to a fire pit next to adobe walls in various stages of decay and stokes the fire; closer view of the woman stirring something in a large vessel of broken pottery over the file, and then places the bundle in the pot, then stirring the bundle around and into the dye that’s inside; close-up of a pile of wooden charcoal bricks being placed onto a pile of rocks with flat opening, then sheep’s skin is placed over the coals and a wire rack on top as smokes begins to billow from the pile; she then spreads the bundle of twigs across the rack over the fire, and covers the whole thing with a tarp-time materials; the woman stands back and admire a hanging string of different colored bundles of twigs she’s dyed blue, red, yellow and black hanging on the wall, then closer shot of her hand touching the yellow bundles; various views the same woman sits on a low adobe brick wall on Third Mesa as she weaves the start of a spiral wicker basket, the desert landscape (Monument Valley?) in the far distance; close-ups including her hands using a tool to tighten the weave around the central spiral and of her face in concentration; now a different woman from Second Mesa weaves a coiled plaque basket; close views of eight types of pottery at a woman’s feet, and a plastic bowl filled with water and slip; a First Mesa Hopi (or Tewa?) woman seated next to the pottery smooths a small wet clay bowl in her hands with a flat shell, then she rolls more clay into a long rope and coils it around the bowl bottom, adhering it by pinching it in place; she smooths the sides and eliminating the seam made by the coil, places the bowl on the ground and picks up another unbaked, but dry pot and rubs sandstone rock from the bowl of water over the inside of the pot; she now circles a small rock or mano onto a metate filled with dark pigment and water; with a tiny brush she paints a design onto a pot; the same woman now moves coals around in a fire bit, and places flat rocks onto the coals made of cedar pieces, with her unbaked pots sitting nearby; she then walks a very basket of white rocks and places them and the pots, mouth down, on top; she then covers it all with big shards of broken pottery, smoke billows up; she then places more rocks on top of the broken pottery; close view of the raging fire beneath the pile; the woman removes the rocks from the now burned out fire pit to reveal one successfully fired pot and one broken one; closer view of her inspecting and speaking to the pot; she then throws the broken pot onto the fire pit; close-up of her face, looking directly at the camera, against a striped blanket backdrop. Closing credits: “The End. Coronet Instructional Films.”