Lucy Lewis is regarded as one of the matriarchs of Acoma pottery and her beautiful pottery is highly sought after by museums and collectors alike.
One of her favorite designs was the deer with a heart line, which were often combined with other strong geometric polychrome elements. This lovely bowl has a design around the rim and top of the bowl which is repeated four times. The design elements are lightning and rain. There are four heart line deer painted on the bowl. They are charming as they stand seemingly at attention looking over their shoulder. The bowl is painted with bee-weed (black) and a red clay slip for the arrow of the heart line.
The deer is an important being that sustained life through essential things like food, clothing, and tools. Creating the deer’s image was a way to honor it for giving its life through hunting. It was an offering to the Creator for providing the deer, and it served as a reminder of the gift of life. The deer was, and still is, a symbol of life, reciprocity, stewardship, and strength.
Lucy made all of her pottery in the traditional manner: using hand dug clay that is prepared by cleaning and grinding to a smooth almost flour like substance; grinding ancient potsherds for temper; coiling the clay into a vessel shape; making paints from plant and mineral elements; and after adequate drying time, firing the finished vessels in an open outdoor handmade kiln.
Condition: Very Good – original condition – there are a couple of places on the rim where the paint has rubbed off from handling and the slip around the bottom is spotty.
Provenance: Acquired from a private collector in New Mexico.
Recommended Reading: Lucy M. Lewis: American Indian Potter by Susan Peterson