Borts-Medlock, Autumn – Red Carved Parrot with with Flower Designs
The effigy parrots by Autumn Borts-Medlock have certainly become a signature piece of her pottery. The parrots are coil built and then carved and stone polished. This is a smaller parrot is charming with its head slightly turned. The front is carved with a flower design, as is the back. The wings are carved with cloud and rainbow patterns. The head and beak are fully polished red. Autumn has used white clay to accent the eyes and the wings. There are also areas of micaceous clay which are a visual contrast to the polished surface. For a smaller piece, it is very complex in imagery. The unique shape and angles of the piece create a variety of points of reflection. The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Autumn Borts-Medlock, 2020”.
So, why so many parrots on Pueblo and Hopi pottery? In the pre-contact era, there was a small parrot that was indigenous to the southwest area. As well, parrot feathers were traded with Central American tribes and were highly valued. Today there are Parrot Clans at Hopi and parrot feathers are used throughout the Pueblo world in various ceremonies and dances. So, it is not unexpected to see parrots featured on pottery from the various pueblos and Hopi. They are certainly part of the cultural and historic background of these amazing potters!