A delightful pottery figural piece, demonstrating the whimsical quality and assured technique of this potter’s style. Known for her crisply painted work, she has many awards, including Best in Show from the Heard Museum Market, one of the three most prestigious shows of Native arts.
This turtle is not shown chanting, so it looks more like a babysitter, keeping the crowd of children busy and entertained. Everybody, including the turtle, seems very pleased with the situation – except one little fellow toward the back, on one side, who is down in the mouth (literally) and crying! Vangie’s figures have charming expressions, and these are also doing something child-like, as the turtle trundles them along.
On one side, a boy holds a football, the next holds on to his draped blanket, and then we see the crying fellow. On the other side, two boys hold drums, while the other clutches a round, red ball. Two little girls are perched on the turtle’s neck, one holding on, and the other holding her head in excitement. The other two kids are at the back, where the girl is hanging on to the little boy, who is reading. Judging by his casually crossed legs, he is not at all worried about sliding off.
The turtle has a pleased smile,indicating that everyone is happy with the excursion – with that one exception! Going to, or returning from, a playground, given the two balls held by boys? Whatever story you decide on, this smiling crew will make you smile, too.
The piece is traditional, from finding the local clay, to the pit firing. The brilliant white is a clay slip, as is the red, but the shiny black is probably paint, rather than plant-derived pigment. Wavy lines denoting water decorate the turtle, with an abstract pattern of triangles suggesting the scales on its back.
Wouldn’t this be perfect for a teacher you love? But everyone will love this darling ensemble; we all can welcome the smiling delight that it radiates.