Her heritage is that of one of the premier pottery families: her sisters are the well known Judy Lewis, Carolyn Concho, Diane Lewis, and Rebecca Lucario. Marilyn’s fame is primarily for this sort of endearing figural piece, incorporating children and animals. Entirely traditional in execution, from hand-gathering the local clay, to painting with natural pigments and clay slips, her work is enjoyed for its whimsical charm, but can also harbor spiritual meaning.
This smiling little boy is astride a large drum, with a lizard clinging to one side, two cute birds on top, watching him with wide-eyed interest, and a ladybug on his arm. He holds a water canteen decorated with a rabbit that seems to be aimed right at a bird’s beak. This ensemble symbolizes harmony, optimism and abundance, as well as delightful artistry.
Feeding (or watering) birds shows there is enough to share, therefore, abundance and harmony; the combination of the rabbit – meat – and water also refers to the balance of nature, and more abundance. The lizard eats bugs that destroy crops, ditto the ladybug, so they are also good luck symbols. Drumming, and the drum, replicates the heartbeat of Mother Earth; harmony, optimism and abundance, again.
With practiced skill and a lovely familiarity with both creatures great and small and children – notice the relaxed, naturalistic pose of the boy – this artist once again charms and delights her many collectors, while including a lot of cultural lore in this one piece.