Medicine Flower, Grace – Large Polychrome Bowl with Turtle, Fish, and Butterflies (2004)

7.25"w x 7"h

$ 14,000.00

WOW!  This is an extraordinary piece by Grace Medicine Flower.  She remains renowned for her innovative and creative pottery.  This is one of her dynamic polychrome larger bowls.  These were the last phase of her pottery before she retired.  The creative innovation on these pieces was that she combined all the different aspects of her pottery into one piece.  It is polished, painted, carved, and etched!  The bowl has a carved asymmetric rim with a polished red medallion.  The medallion has an incised dragonfly, turtle, frog, and fish.  The same designs are on the opposite side of the bowl carved in relief on a green clay slip background.  There are three additional red polished medallions, each has sgraffito butterflies.  The remainder of the bowl is carved with prayer feathers, clouds, and rain designs.  Once again, they are polished, carved, and incised. They combine various colors of clay slips along with micaceous clay slips.  What is amazing is that the piece has a different overall design as it is turned.  It is wonderfully complex in design and color!  Even the inside is painted with a water design!  The piece is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Grace Medicine Flower”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair.  Grace made very few of these polychrome pieces during her career, which makes this an exceptional piece both in creativity and historically!

Grace said about her polychrome pottery:

One day Richard Spivey and I talked about colors on the pottery, and I said I thought I would start doing that. He said some of the clay colors are hard to find. The only ones I know are the clays I use. I know the red is red, and the black is wild spinach. Oh, the smell when you boil it! Then you have to let it set for it to be a dark black. The green is from a yellow clay I found years ago. The yellow stayed yellow, but mixing the black and the yellow made a green. Those were the only colors I could find that I could use. That’s how the colors came about. The brown, that was some clay I had that was a darker brown. The mica, I think Joseph had some mica, and he gave me some. I used it very sparingly. I put a nylon stocking on it, on top of the bowl, and used a brush to put on the mica.
When the pottery comes out the way she should, it’s always the Clay Lady. She’s the one who’s giving you all this. She’s a piece of clay in your hands that you were blessed with.  Grace Medicine Flower, Spoken Through Clay