Vail family

The Vail Family

The Vail Family is well known for their contemporary style of pottery known as “horse hair”. Tom Vail married into the Navajo Nation. He, along with his children William “Skeeter” Vail, Loveitha Vail-Sanchez, and their spouses Geraldine Vail and Ray Sanchez produce this style of pottery. Tom was born in 1933. Skeeter was born in 1961, his wife, Gerie, was born in 1960, and Loveitha was born in 1967.

They pour a ceramic white slip substance into a mold and it foms itself into whatever shape of pot that they decide on making. Then, they pour out the excess slip and let it set to dry. The ceramicware is then cleaned and polished. They heat up the ceramicware in a kiln and then randomly toss authentic hair taken from the mane (thin lines) or the tail (thick lines) of a horse on the heated pottery. The resulting carbon being drawn into the surface of the pot creates the wonderful designs and patterns. Finally, they clean the finished pottery with a dry material and the finished product is a unique marblized flare styled pot. This process of art is very hazardous and time consuming. When asked why they do this they all agreed and replied “We enjoy not knowing what designs will form on the pot itself after the horse hair has burned into the pot.” They sign their pottery as: Skeeter & Gerie Vail, Vail, and Loveitha Vail-Sanchez.

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