"A key contributor to the character of Hopi pottery is the clay available there, a fine kaolin that can be highly polished and, when fired at moderately high temperatures, takes on a range of warm yellows that are almost luminescent. Ancestral Hopi potters discovered the properties of that clay in the 14th century and used it as the foundation for several related styles that were widely traded and among the most influential of all ancient Pueblo pottery traditions. The rediscovery in the late 19th century of wares from the ruins of the ancient Hopi town of Sikyatki inspired the modern revival and gives it its name.
The forms and painting of modern Hopi and Hopi-Tewa pottery still clearly derive from the ancient prototypes. Characteristic vessel shapes are elegant and exaggeratedly low and paintings often use bold, curvilinear, highly abstracted bird feather and bird motifs. Modern pottery tends to be smaller, more highly polished, and more delicately and precisely painted than in the past. In those respects, modern Hopi pottery shares a stylistic trajectory with the other Pueblos that began when Pueblo pottery was first marketed as a tourist ware."
-J.J. Brody, Voices in Clay: Pueblo Pottery from the Edna M. Kelly Collection