Lonewolf, Joseph – Grizzly Cubs & Butterflies Seedpot (1984)
Beginning in the early 1970’s, Joseph Lonewolf revolutionized the world of Santa Clara pottery by incorporating his sgraffito (lightly etching the surface of the clay) and incised (more deeply cut into the clay) designs. This seedpot is from 1984. It has two grizzly bear cubs, each etched into the clay in great detail. Each of the cubs is entranced with the butterflies. What is so exceptional on this piece is not just the bears and the interaction with the butterflies, but the filigree style etching work surrounding them. The plants and the feather patterns flow around the piece in a delicate stylistic manner. It’s always difficult with his work to imagine that Joseph etched the designs into the clay! There is an additional white clay slip used along with a red clay slip. The back of the piece has a medallion with a rainbow, which is the yearly symbol for 1984. The precision of the designs and the shine of the polished surface create a perfect balance. This piece is in perfect condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.