Lonewolf, Joseph – Large Seedpot with Butterflies and Mimbres Animals (1980)
WOW! This is an extraordinary large seedpot by Joseph Lonewolf. In the early 1970s, he 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 1980 and it is fully designed. One section has eight butterflies, each realistic in style. They are surrounded by flowers and caterpillars. There are tightly etched details in each of the wings of the butterflies. Near the base, there are eight medallions, each with a Mimbres animal, insect, or bug. There is a mountain lion, rabbit, quail, two butterflies, fish, ram, and swirling beetles. The medallions are polished and then lightly etched. Note the matte area which has been etched away. There are small lines in areas as well as a “ripple” around the tiny opening at the top, as if a stone had been dropped into water. There is a final large section that has a large stylized feather. Each feather is intricately etched into the clay. This is one of the more complex designed pieces we have seen of his pottery. This piece is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. It is signed, “Joseph Lonewolf” on the bottom, and dated 1980.
“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, 1974, Spoken Through Clay