Lonewolf, Joseph – Seedpot with Bear Wrestler (1998)
This is a charming miniature by Joseph Lonewolf. The piece is fully polished red and the design is a “Bear Wrestler”. Believe it or not, it is actually a famous design on a piece of Mimbres pottery from the 1100s! The last photo shows the piece of Mimbres pottery. Joseph was often inspired by this pottery and modified the designs for his pieces. Here, the man is wrestling a bear for most of the design. There is a lot of etched detail in the bear and sash on the man. The back of the seedpot has a butterfly that represents beauty. There is also the 1998 yearly symbol of two interlocking circles representing “attachment between friends”. The additional colors are all-natural clay slips and added before the piece was fired. It is signed on the bottom in the clay. The seedpot 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”