Medicine Flower, Grace – Carved Bowl with Hummingbird Medallion (1990s)
Grace Medicine Flower began her career making miniature pottery with incised designs. This bowl is from the early 1990s and it is a significant piece as it is part of the period when she began to make larger vessels with smaller incised areas. She went back to the early work of her father, Camilio Tafoya, and began to carve her pottery. The entire surface is fully polished. She also began to carve the rim of her vessels, which is technically very difficult, as it can break in the drying or polishing stage. This bowl has some very deeply carved sections which extend down from the rim. There is a large central medallion that is carved with 28 feathers. The medallion is etched with a hummingbird and flower in the center. Surrounding the medallion the remainder of the bowl is also fully carved! There are cloud and lightning designs carved into the clay. There are three additional hummingbirds in the swirls near the rim. The inside of the bowl is slipped with mica. Grace said about her use of hummingbirds:
“We have a lot of hummingbirds by our house. Who knows about a hummingbird on a piece of pottery? They are so tiny and so little. Looking at the hummingbirds and flowers or the squirrels like we have next door. Maybe even that you can put on a piece of pottery. Anything that comes to your mind that you might think would look good on the pottery is fine.” Grace Medicine Flower, Spoken Through Clay
The bowl is very highly polished and fired a deep red. Interestingly, Grace did all of her etching/sgraffito in the clay before the pieces were fired, which added to their overall difficulty. The bowl 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.