Medicine Flower, Grace – Large Basket Weave Double Sided Plate With Figures (2001)
Grace Medicine Flower remains renowned for her innovative and creative pottery. This is one of her dynamic “basket weave” pieces. She only made the basket-weave pieces for a few years before moving on to the polychrome pottery. The concept behind these pieces was for them to appear as if the clay had fallen away and there was a woven basket underneath. The basket areas are carved vertically, incised horizontally and then painted with a clay slip. In addition to the scarcity of the basketweave style, Grace also made very few plates. Amazingly, in over 20 years of working with her, I had less than 10 plates come through the gallery! The plate is larger in size. There is the basketweave around the rim and in the center is a carved, polished and etched medallion. There are cloud and feather designs. The interesting part is the group of dancers. There are four female dancers (in white) and two male dancers (in red). The white figures are painted with various clay slips and etched with designs. The male figures are stone polished red and then etched. They are anthropomorphic antelope or deer figures. They are inspired by historic Mimbres pottery and her own creativity. The detail is quite amazing, however! In addition to the front being carved and incised the back is fully carved with a water serpent. Grace said she always liked to carve on the back of her pieces at it was so much more risky for it to break and that created the challenge! The avanyu is slipped with mica. The piece is signed on the back in the clay, “Grace Medicine Flower”. It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. The last photo is one I took with Grace and behind her a massive Navajo wedding basket, which is the same style she used for the basket on her pottery.