Medicine Flower, Grace – Black & Red Jar with Hummingbirds and Lid (1987)
Grace Medicine Flower began her career making miniature pottery with incised designs. This is one of her classic lidded jars with a rounded lid. It is also one of her few black pieces. The jar is fully polished, as is the lid. The front has a medallion that is etched with three hummingbirds. Near the base is a feather design. Around the shoulder are two more hummingbirds with a cloud design. The hummingbirds and Irises are highlighted with a red clay slip. It is dramatic in appearance and the only time I have ever seen something like this from Grace. She often said the reason she didn’t like to do black firings is that you couldn’t see the designs well enough. Here, the imagery is perfectly accentuated. The ja is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Grace Medicine Flower”. It is intricate, elegant and a stunning piece of history.
Grace said of making the pieces with a stopper lid:
I thought maybe a little stopper would make it look more elegant. Just something that comes to your mind. Once you start designing it something just comes to you. You don’t put her aside. She tells you while your mind is still fresh to keep going. Even at night I’d have this dream about forming this piece of pottery. I would have dreams about it, think about it and then say, “This is the next one I’m going to do.” I would picture it. Once in a while I would draw it on a piece of paper while it was fresh in my mind. Grace Medicine Flower, Spoken Through Clay