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grace medicine flowerGrace Medicine Flower

Grace Medicine Flower

Her name alone describes her work and her persona...Grace. Grace Medicine Flower is an elegant beauty among Santa Clara potters who continues to be one of the most innovative and influential potters working today. Her intricately designed butterflies and hummingbirds remind the viewer of our delicate relationship with nature. Each piece is a reflection of her connection to the earth and the Clay Lady and the traditional and history of the Santa Clara Pueblo. As a child, Grace was surrounded by potters such as her mother Agapita, her father Camilio Tafoya and her aunt, Margaret Tafoya. She began to work in clay making traditionally styled pottery. In the late 1960’s, Grace and her brother Joseph were among the first on Santa Clara to begin using the sgraffito technique to carve their designs into the clay. Amazingly, Grace uses a knife or a specially sharpened nail to carve and create her masterpieces. Grace recounts how her first piece of sgraffito pottery sold for $11.00, much more than her other traditional pieces. Her early pieces were signed, “Grace Hoover”, then they were signed with “Grace and a four petal flower. Today, she signs her work, “Grace Medicine Flower”, with a flower beneath her name. All of her work is made in the traditional coil method and then pit fired outside. Grace Medicine Flower has been greatly honored throughout her career for her innovative work. She has been visited by Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, invited to the White House and has pieces in collections and museums around the world. In the 1970’s, Grace and her brother Joseph were both honored by the state of New Mexico with the production of a medal in honor of their contribution to Santa Clara pottery. In addition to these honors, Grace has won major awards at Gallup Ceremonials and other major events. Grace’s work continues to evolve. Moving from small round seed pots with incised animal designs, Grace now creates a larger bowl, which combines deep carving with intricately incised sections. Her latest innovation is the, “basket weave” bowls, which gives the effect of an exposed basket lying just underneath the surface of the clay. One can only suspect that Grace has even more innovations ready to be presented to the public. To say that Grace Medicine Flower has changed the face of pueblo pottery would not be an understatement. To own one of her pieces it to own a part of history. While she produces less than 15 pieces a year, the demand among collectors for her new pieces continues to rise with each new year and new innovation.

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Medicine Flower, Grace – Open Bowl with Basket Design (1974)

This is an unusual open bowl/plate by Grace Medicine Flower is from 1974.  It is fully polished on the front and back.  The center is designed with a basket weave pattern.  There are horizontal rows and then each row is vertically etched to create the “stitching” of the basket.  There are deeper etched areas in the center to create an additional design.  It is historically interesting as in the 1990’s she began making pieces with the “basket weave” pattern on her polychrome pottery.  It is fascinating to see that she was intrigued by this design and style for over 30 years!  The bowl has a medicine flower etched on the side and it is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Grace Medicine Flower”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips,cracks restoration or repair.

$ 850.00
Medicine Flower, Grace & Camillio Tafoya – Red & Black Jar with Figures & Avanyu (1970’s)

This an unusual collaborative piece by Grace Medicine Flower and her father, Camilio Tafoya.  It is from the early 1970’s and it was fired “black-and-red”.  It is a distinctive firing technique where the piece is covered before the manure is put on to turn it black.  The jar was made by Camilio and polished by Grace. She would then etch the designs into the clay before it was fired.  This piece has a lightly etched avanyu on two sides.  Separating them are two red medallions.  One has a Mudhead Clown figure and the other a Rain Dancer.  There is a striking coloration of the red against the black.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Grace Medicne Flower and Camilio Tafoya”.   The jar is in excellent with no chips,cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 900.00
Medicine Flower, Grace – Carved Jar with Feather Design (1960’s)

This jar by Grace Medicine Flower is fully carved and polished.  It is an early piece of her pottery before she began doing the sgraffito work in the late 1960’s.  The jar has 20 carved feathers encircling the piece.  They are deeply carved and it is fully polished.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Grace Medicine Flower”.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

$ 350.00
Medicine Flower, Grace – Jar with Three Deer

This jar by Grace Medicine Flower is fully polished and incised.  The jar has high sides and a short neck. There is a large leaping deer on one side. On the opposite side are two fawns and flowers.  Grace has incorporated additional Pueblo cloud, rain and feather designs.  The jar is from the 1990’s and it is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Grace Medicine Flower”.

$ 1,800.00
Medicine Flower, Grace – Lidded Melon Jar with Hummingbirds (1989)

This lidded jar by Grace Medicine Flower is from 1989 shows the transition of her work from sgraffito designs to a combination of carved and etched imagery. This jar has an elegant shape and the entire piece is fully polished. The bottom half is fully carved and polished with melon ribs.  Note the sharp edge of each rip and how the area between the ribs are also fully polished!  The area around the shoulder is fully polished and etched with hummingbirds.  The lid is unique with a single melon “rib” cutting across the surface.  It perfectly ties the entire piece together!   It is signed on the bottom, “Grace Medicine Flower”. The jar is in excellent condition with no chips,cracks restoration or repair. It is elegant and stunning!  Over her career she made very few black pieces and yet they are always stunning and creative!

$ 2,800.00
Medicine Flower, Grace – Mini Jar with Flute Player, Frogs & Turtles (1998)

This miniature red jar by Grace Medicine Flower is fully polished and incised.  The design is a central medallion with a Mimbres inspired flute player.  Around the shoulder are alternating turtles and frogs.  The jar is from 1998 and it is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Grace Medicine Flower”.

$ 1,600.00
Medicine Flower, Grace – Polychrome Jar with Fish

Grace Medicine Flower began her career making miniature pottery with incised designs.   This jar is from 2002-5 and  is one of her amazing polychrome pieces. The jar is carved through to create the various visual areas for design. Around the shoulder are carved through sections with carved fish as part of the design.  Below are sections which are carved into the clay and then slipped with micaceous clay or polished.  They are then etched with additional designs.  Grace has incorporated all the various techniques to make this jar, including carving, incising and etching.  She has also used polished, painted and micaceous surfaces for the designs.  All the various colors are from natural clay slips.  The technical difficulty in carving through the clay for the open areas is surprisingly difficult and amazing that it didn’t crack in drying or firing. Note as well that it is painted on the inside with additional fish! The jar is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  While Grace is no longer making pottery, this is certainly a reflection of the creativity and originality of her work!

 

$ 7,700.00
Medicine Flower, Grace –   Seedpot with Hummingbirds & Flowers (1981)

This is a seedpot by Grace Medicine Flower is from 198`.  It is fully polished and etched on the top.  There are four hummingbirds and two butterflies as the design.  There are additional feather swirls and flowers along with rain and wind patterns. What is really interesting about this piece is the matte background area.  Note how Grace used two different techniques for the background.  One is a series of lines and arches, which almost seem to depict the movement of the birds and butterflies.  The other is a series of small semi-circles which create a visual distinction with other background areas.  These small incised lines create small shadows and add to the overall depth of the design.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks restoration or repair.

$ 1,100.00
Medicine Flower, Grace – Large Carved Bowl with Rounded Melon Swirl Designs (1991)

Grace Medicine Flower is one of the masterful potters of Santa Clara Pueblo.  She began with sgraffito (etching) technique in her pottery around 1970 and was always creative in her forms and designs.  This is one of her distinctive large black pieces that is fully carved.  The top of the bowl has six swirling melon ribs extending downward.  The side of the bowl is fully carved with triangular and rectangular cloud patterns which circle in on themselves.  Within each of these sections there is a small area which has a carved kiva step pattern.  The entire surface of the bowl is fully polished to a high shine and fired a deep black.  It is a testament to Grace’s creativity throughout her career that each of her pieces is unique and she was always trying to expand her styles and make each piece unique.  The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is from 1991.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  While Grace has now retired from pottery, her work remains elegant and stunning!

$ 3,200.00
Medicine Flower, Grace – Seedpot with Squirrels (1978)

This is an exceptionally well etched seedpot by Grace Medicine Flower is from 1978.  It is fully polished and etched on the entire surface.  The sides have charming squirrels etched into the clay along with cloud and wind designs.  On the top is a single squirrel with an nut.  It is well etched and cute how the squirrel is on its back legs!  The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay. It is in excellent condition with no chips,cracks restoration or repair.

$ 1,200.00
Sale!
King, Charles S., “Spoken Through Clay”

Spoken Through Clay

A NEW  RELEASE SPECIAL:  $95.00, including shipping (US)! Check out the new review in the Denver Post!

 Just a few things which make this book unique!
*   The size!  The book is 11.75″ x 14.25″ and weights over 8 pounds!
*  The photography of the pottery is stunning, emphasizing the individual pieces.
*  Each caption is the artist discussing the individual piece on the page.
*  The artist “biographies” are from interviews with the artists and they discuss their art, culture, lives and history.
*  Organization: The book is not organized by pueblo or family, but entails new ways to think about the future of Native pottery.
*  Printing in Italy gives the book very high quality color and paper.
* The photos of the living artists were taken by Will Wilson using a tin-type process. He was a recipient of the 2107 New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in photography!
*  The book features work by more than 30 contemporary potters and more than a dozen important historic potters.
*  There are essays by myself, Peter Held and Eric Dobkin.  They add to the overall understanding of the project a historic perspective.

_____________________________________________

August 18, Pasatiempo Review

“Charles S. King’s new book, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery in the Southwest, The Eric S. Dobkin Collection, is spectacularly heavy —which is a problem from a practical standpoint, because once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. With dreamy tintype artist portraits by Diné photographer Will Wilson, dazzlingly crisp images from Addison Doty, and intimate first-person essays written by dozens of artists, the book is a visually delicious, intellectually consuming foray into historic and contemporary Southwestern pottery. In short, prepare to swoon.

If you’re thinking of this as a coffee-table book, you’ll need to imagine a decently sized coffee table. The book is more than a foot tall and, when opened, two feet wide, but its outsize appearance belies the often delicate beauty of its contents: hundreds of individual pieces of pottery from Eric S. Dobkin’s exquisitely curated collection — arguably the largest and most important of its kind. Gallery owner, author, and Pueblo pottery expert King designed Spoken Through Clay to be approachable for those unfamiliar with Native American pottery. “In the age of social media, I wanted to make the book both visually striking and personal,” King said. The book opens with essays by King, Dobkin, and curator Peter Held, who calls clay “the most archival of materials … seductive, sensuous, responsive, geologic, and malleable.”

“I wanted the end result of the book to be that the reader would connect with the artists in a personal way, beyond just the art, and understand the time it takes to become an artist, to achieve success,” King said. Sprawling yet intimate, Spoken Through Clay introduces its readers not just to the beauty of Southwestern pottery but also to the fascinating stories of the people who make it.Iris McLister, Pasatiempo

____________________________________

“It’s one of the things that makes us who we are. It’s what holds our family together. We are a family of potters. It’s our identity. People don’t realize how much work goes into it just processing the clay and making it. You have to do it with your heart.”—Linda Tafoya-Sanchez

 

FEATURED ARTISTS Grace Medicine Flower • Dextra Quotskuyva • Autumn Borts-Medlock • Jody Naranjo • Harrison Begay Jr. • Jordan Roller • Sara Fina Tafoya • Lonnie Vigil • Margaret Tafoya • Steve Lucas • LuAnn Tafoya • Loren Ami • Toni Roller • Popovi Da • Linda Tafoya-Sanchez • Mark Tahbo • James Ebelacker• Yvonne Lucas • Jeff Roller • Lisa Holt • Harlan Reano • Nampeyo • Jacquie Stevens • Nathan Youngblood • Jacob Koopee Jr. • Jennifer Moquino • Christopher Youngblood • Maria Martinez • Tony Da • Tammy Garcia • Virgil Ortiz • Joseph Lonewolf • Johnathan Naranjo • Nancy Youngblood • Les Namingha • Russell Sanchez • Christine McHorse • Richard Zane Smith • Rondina Huma • Susan Folwell • Dominique Toya • Jody Folwell

Spoken Through Clay features the pottery of iconic Native American artists from historic potters Nampeyo and Maria Martinez, to contemporary potters Tammy Garcia, Virgil Ortiz, and many others, are featured in a new book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection, covering a wide range of mostly Pueblo artists from the Southwest.

“The physical scale of the vessels combined with the depth of the contemporary collection [is] breathtaking,” says author Charles S. King. The book is part of a “transitional process of looking to the clay, the vessel, and the potter’s voice and allowing the pieces to stand on the merit of their artistic integrity.”

The book includes portraits and voices of renowned potters speaking about their artistry and technique, families, culture, and traditions. Many of the artists are connected by Pueblos, generations, or family members. Dynamic color photography captures the depth and dimension of the pieces, while the artists provide an illuminating perspective through narrative captions. Artists, academics, collectors, family members, and gallerists add additional insight about the lives, historical context, and importance of these potters and their work.

SPOKEN THROUGH CLAY Native Pottery of the Southwest The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
By Charles S. King Essay by Peter Held

Artist portraits by Will Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-89013-624-9

352 pages, 320 color plates, 40 artist portraits

Publication Date: August 01, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charles S. King is the author of Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, The Life and Art of Tony Da, Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180, and numerous articles on Pueblo pottery. He has served on boards of art associations, judged pottery at prestigious events, and lectures about the art form. His business King Galleries represents many of today’s leading Native potters and important historic works in clay. Charles lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

$ 125.00 $ 95.00
Medicine Flower, Grace – Carved Butterfly Jar

This small but extraordinary jar by Grace Medicine Flower is from the 1980’s. It is fully polished around the center and she has etched butterflies. Each butterfly is highlighted with natural clay slips.  However, it is the carved flower designs around the neck and base which are so exceptional.  They are left matte in contrast to the polished area around the center of the piece.  The are even more tightly carved as they rise up to the neck.  The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is in excellent condition with no chips,cracks restoration or repair. It is elegant and stunning!

$ 1,200.00
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