Medicine Flower, Grace – Polychrome Seedpot with Hummingbirds (2008)
Grace Medicine Flower remains renowned for her innovative and creative pottery. This is one of her dynamic polychrome miniatures. These were the last phase of her pottery before she retired. They combined all the different aspects of her pottery into one piece. It is polished, painted, carved, and etched! The seedpot has two hummingbirds carved into the clay. They are highlighted with various colors of clay slips and also etched. They are surrounded by flowers. Below them are geometric Santa Clara designs that are carved into the clay, polished, and etched. Extending down from the opening on the top are five melon ribs that are carved into the clay and slipped with mica. For a piece of this size, it is wonderfully complex in design and color! 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