Lonewolf, Joseph – Carved Seedpot with Mimbres Butterflies (1977)
This is a spectacular seedpot by Joseph Lonewolf. The piece is from one of his most complicated series that he made in 1976-7. This seedpot is both carved and incised. Take a closer look at the piece from the front to the back. There are two Mimbres butterflies polished red. Behind them are matte tan clouds and in front of them is a polished flower. The background area is slipped with blue clay. As the piece is turned, there are cloud patterns polished red. The butterflies are highlighted with green clay. Near the base is a realistic butterfly etched into the polished red area and highlight with white clay. It is a fantastic use of color, dimension, and design. The seedpot is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Joseph Lonewolf”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.
“It gives me a funny feeling when people tell me I’ve done something brand new and different. I’ve just figured out all over again what potters did centuries ago. But it is NOT new as people like to say it is. Such colors were achieved in pre-history times by my ancestors. I regard the Mimbres as my ancestors. Though I refine their designs, each design must have meaning for me. In my dreams I see how to use the design, how to make the pot happen. Then when I work the clay, everything flows. Some people wonder why I keep changing styles, colors, forms. But I can’t just sit there and make pots. Like any artist I must try different things, different techniques. I must meet the challenge with my hands. The patterns and the methods I see in my mind during my dreams.” —JOSEPH LONEWOLF, Spoken Through Clay